After the death of palestinian president yasser arafat, a new round of middle east diplomacy has begun
Outgoing U.S. Auben secretary colin powell was the first on a long list of international leaders who will be visiting israel and the palestinian territories in the coming weeks. He was followed last wednesday by british secretary of state jack straw; later this week, steven hadley, deputy national security adviser to U.S. President george W. Bush, will also join the U.S. Government. Bush, arrive to discuss with the interim palestinian leadership the situation following the death of palestinian president yasser arafat and expected developments on the palestinian side. In addition, egypt’s auben minister ahmed abdul gheid, his intelligence chief omar suleiman and spanish auben minister miguel moratinos are expected to visit the region next week. Turkey’s auben minister abdullah gul and britain’s prime minister tony blair will pay their visits to israel and the palestinian territories just before christmas. A spokesman for the british prime minister said on friday that the government in london wanted to demonstrate the importance of the middle east peace process for its policy.
Common goal of the political tourists: after the death of yasser arafat in early november, they want to get the stalled peace process going again. The unilateral israeli withdrawal from gaza and parts of the northern west bank is to be turned into a mutually agreeable dispersal, embedded in the "road map to peace," the so-called "middle east quartet" of the united states, the european union, russia and the united nations last spring.