Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Another op'nin' another show"

Another Middle East peace conference in the White House, the first in twenty months as the Economist somewhat breathlessly tells us. Twenty months, eh? Has it really been that long? How time flies. The article is terribly hopeful because, astonishingly, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's Prime Minister, appears to want to negotiate for peace. Well, there's a surprise.

Now, what about the other players? Jordan and Egypt might want peace as having the pesky Palestinians on their doorstep is not something they are very keen on but, on the whole, if Israel takes most of the flak, they can live with it. Mahmoud Abbas may or may not want peace. His main problem is with his own people and, even more so, with Hamas.

That brings me to the absentee organization. As before, Hamas is not there and they have already told us that they are not interested in peace with anybody and despise Mahmoud Abbas for talking to Israel. They have also expressed their views strongly by killing four Israeli civilians (five really, as one of the women was pregnant) in a gun attack and wounding two in another one. The Economist did mention this in the article but in line with certain other Western media outlets did not think that this was anybody's fault, except maybe the Israeli settlers.

These immensely courageous actions (the spraying of cars with ordinary civilians in them with bullets) have been described by the Palestinian Authority as a "military operation", we get the usual pictures of children celebrating wildly the news of the killings and so it goes on. Above all, there is no sign of Hamas (and one or two other organizations) accepting Israel's right to exist any time soon.

Are we placing bets on how long these talks will last?

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