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Annapolis Part II

Earlier this week I voiced my concerns about Annapolis and Condi and company's desire for a legacy. That is a scary way to try and conduct diplomacy. Anyone who knows anything about negotiations understands that one should negotiate from a position of strength and not weakness.

There is nothing remotely profound in that statement, but it bears repeating over and over. To begin with I am done with asking the Palestinians or any other Arab to recognize Israel. It is narishkeit. It is foolishness. It reminds me of my three year-old. She puts her hands over her eyes and says "daddy you can't see me."

Ok, you are right. I can't see you. Screw Haniyeh, Abbas, Assad and anyone else who wants to play this game. Keep walking in the dark. I hope you trip over a table and break your necks. Because it has become glaringly apparent to me that they see this request for recognition as being a sign of weakness. Take it off off the table. We have what you want, not the other way around.

This is not going to be seen as being popular, especially not within the U.S. As Ralph Peters writes in the New York Post Bush and Co. are starting to look a lot like the Clinton administration.

"In the Middle East, you can't buy peace. You can only buy time. If we want to help at all, the fundamental requirement is to have realistic expectations.

At present, the situation is aggravated by the Bush administration's desperate quest for a headline-worthy foreign-policy success - mirroring the Clinton administration in its closing years. But desperation's a poor basis for dealing with a geopolitical problem of near-infinite complexity, with ill will on every side except our own.

What happens in the course of Middle East "peace" talks under such circumstances? Whether the American administration is Republican or Democrat, it pressures Israel for concessions - since the Arabs won't make any. Prisoner releases precede each summit; territorial handovers come under discussion.

For their parts, Arab leaders and their representatives assume we're sufficiently honored if they just show up. We hear no end of nonsense about the great political risks they're taking, etc. We're suckers for any fat guy in a white robe with an oil can."

So in my non professional opinion we need to rethink and restructure. Besides let's take a moment to look at what is going on here. CNN has some of the interesting news.

The official said some of the 40 nations represented at the summit have offered Israel a chilly welcome, but their participation alone is encouraging.

"The Saudis won't shake our hands; the Syrians won't say nice things about us," the Israeli official said. "But they're here."

It warms the cockles of my hearts to read this. The good old Saudis who punish victims of rape and fund terrorists all the while shaking their fingers at Israel as if they really were arbiters of morality.

The fine Syrians bolstered by their pipsqueak leader who are only in attendance because baby Assad is desperately trying to make a name for himself. I never thought that I'd say this, but I would have felt differently had his father been in Annapolis. The man didn't need to prove that he didn't wear diapers. But I digress.

Did you see that Iran is holding its own peace conference.

Elham indicated the Tehran meeting would be a riposte to the conference bringing together Israeli and Palestinian leaders which started in Annapolis outside Washington on Tuesday.

"It means that the Annapolis conference is not representing the Palestinians and not talking on their behalf, but on the contrary is moving against their rights," he said.

The good old Iranians, benefactors of that other Palestinian group. You know the ones I am talking about, Hamas. Remember the guys who currently control Gaza.

"Hamas parliamentarians in Gaza signed a petition declaring their opposition to Palestinian "concessions" in Jerusalem and on the refugee issue, Israel Radio reported Monday.

"Any settlement that does not include the return of the refugees, [Israel's] ceding of the land and the holy sites, and the release of the prisoners is ridiculous," Ahmad Baher, deputy chairman of the Palestinian parliament said at the signing of the document. "The attempt to force such a solution led to the second Intifada."

Among the signatories was Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

"The people believe that this conference is fruitless and that any recommendations or commitments made in the conference that harm our rights will not be binding for our people," Haniyeh said as he entered the Palestinian parliament building in Gaza. "It will be binding only for those who sign it."

In simple terms Israel isn't negotiating with representatives of all of the Palestinians, just some of them. And that my friends is just one of the 1,876,098 reasons why Annapolis as currently constructed is doomed to fail.

There is going to be more bloodshed, more pain, more death and more harm and for what? A chance for a lame duck president and company to claim space in a history book. It is just shameful.


Anonymous said…
We have only been trying since 1947. Give it more time.
There is nothing remotely profound in that statement, but it bears repeating over and over. To begin with I am done with asking the Palestinians or any other Arab to recognize Israel. It is narishkeit. It is foolishness. It reminds me of my three year-old. She puts her hands over her eyes and says "daddy you can't see me."

Curiously, this seems to be largely the same thing that I hear when I talk to Palestinians. That is to say, they are completely confused by the demands to recognize the state of Israel. Their attitude is "what's to recognize? it's there!"
What they don't want to say (according to them) is that it's a Jewish state. This actually though isn't as provocative as it sounds. The reason most of them give for this is that they believe that saying that Israel is a jewish state is essentially doming any non-Jews who live there to permanent second-class citizenship. Since this is - unfortunately- the state of affairs in many ways at present for many if not most Arab Christians, Muslems and Druze - plus assorted immigrants from other places - this actually doesn't seem to me, at least, like an outrageous worry.
Maybe if we did take that request off the table it would move things along.
Jack Steiner said…


Their attitude is "what's to recognize? it's there!"

I have heard a mixed response. Some were similar to what you have heard and some were very different.

I worked with a Syrian man who used to tell me daily that we could never trust Arafat and that lying was a way of life for Arabs.

He wasn't trying to say that all Arabs are liars, rather that if it was in their interests to stretch the truth they would without compunction or regret.