Both President Bush and Mahmoud Abbas appeared optimistic this afternoon about the prospects of achieving a peace deal before a new US president takes office. For his part Abbas wants a framework peace agreement in place by January. Abbas has indicated he wants to go further than the declaration of principals some Israeli officials have suggested, but the chances for a peace deal under Bush seemed stacked towards the negative; the Israeli government is weak, Abbas's authority in Palestine is limited. Meantime the humanitarian situation in Gaza is worsening, as the UN says it will be forced to suspect aid delivery to Gazans unless it receives fresh fuel supplies. More than 80% of Gazans rely on charity to survive and the UN helps more than 1 million Palestinians, a high percentage of which are children. This UN official says the UN hasn't been resupplied since early April. Israeli sanctions have been blamed for the current crisis, and Israel implemented the sanctions in the hope to pressure those who are firing rockets into Israel from Gaza. This Israeli government spokesman says Hamas is deliberately preventing fuel from being delivered. This UN official has called on Israel to allow more fuel into the territories, but both Israel and Hamas share responsibility for this crisis. Meantime, President Bush is hedging his bets that Israelis and Palestinians can work out the problems on their own.

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