Sunday, December 2, 2007

Risky honesty

Gee, I wonder what the reaction in the Arab world will be to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's statement today that the resolution of long-term grievances that have stymied world leaders for 60 years and the establishment of a Palestinian state might not be accomplished by the end of next year? Just kidding -- I'm sure Olmert's statement to the Israeli Cabinet, as reported by the international Reuters news service, will be widely attacked and criticized, never mind that that it was the truth. Pragmatic observers understood that the 13-month timetable agreed upon at last week's peace conference in Annapolis, Md., was unrealistic and overly ambitious. It probably was at least earnest -- I'm sure both sides would like to figure out a way to get along. But a lasting and just peace in the Middle East is simply not possible in the current political and social environment; all parties are going to have to accept major compromises and probably face severe domestic fallout when they try to sell such a deal to their constituencies. Then again, we might never even get that far. The word from Gaza, which was taken over by violent anti-Israel Hamas movement in June, is that Israel has stepped up military operations and fuel is running out.

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