The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Give and Take

The American culture is one of optimism. We look for the best in all people and assume that under the right conditions, they will do the right thing. That’s why we sponsor “peace conferences” where one party makes tangible concessions and the other party makes ever more outrageous demands and a few empty promises.

On November 1st, Condi Rice will convene yet another Middle-East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. In the lead-up to the peace conference, Reuters reports “Rice puts pressure on Israel over document.“ Hmmm. Does this sound familiar?

John Podhoretz comments:
And so, again, here we are, with Israeli politicians leaking possible territorial concessions and Palestinian politicians loudly insisting they won't change their position - the position that Israel must give while they need only take.

And yet again, we are here, with the State Department imagining that because so-called "moderate Arab states" say some reasonable things about Israel's existence to American diplomats behind the scenes, those same principalities will come out from behind the curtain, take the Palestinians by the hand - and openly seek the cessation of hostilities between Jew and Arab.

It's Madrid in 1991 all over again. It's Camp David and Taba in 2000 all over again. It's the 1983 Shultz plan from the Reagan administration all over again. It's the 1969 Rogers plan from the Nixon administration all over again.

In broad outline: America tries to mediate between Israel and Arabs when there's absolutely no reason to think that most Arabs have any real interest in making peace with Israel.

I have an idea. Why not change the rhythm of this peace conference and insist that before it commences, the Arabs/Palestinians define one tangible concession? By tangible concession, I mean an actual act, like offering an land swap where they give something up -- much like Israel did unilaterally with the Gaza -- or suggesting the so-called “right of return” is untenable and will be abandoned. But of course, that won’t happen, because the rhythm is “Israel must give while they need only take.”

It’s difficult to see how a negotiated settlement can be achieved when there is no cohesive Palestinian entity. There are two murderous factions (both of whom want to see the destruction of Israel). The only difference is that Hamas is more public in its hatred, while Fatah is, what? Moderate?

The danger in this isn’t the talking. It’s the one-sided concessions (by Israel) that are likely to occur and the fact that broken promises (by the Palestinians) will not be punished and will have no consequences.

You gotta love diplomacy.