The media are making a lot of the fact that the Saudis and Syrians will both have representatives attending the “peace conference” in Annapolis. But Youssef Ibrahim, writing in the New York Sun, cautions:
[I]t remains unclear how the same Saudis, who last week were busy condemning a rape victim to 200 lashes, can contribute to anything called a “civilized” Middle East. Nor how President Assad’s killing machine, which for two years has been picking off pro-Western politicians in neighboring Lebanon, will push peace negotiations.
At Annapolis, too, goes a uniquely hapless prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, who almost single-handedly in the summer of 2006 lost a war to Hezbollah. This is negotiating from a position of strength?
And don’t miss Bernard Lewis’ op-ed on the conference. He writes:
The first question (one might think it is obvious but apparently not) is, “What is the conflict about?” There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence.If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist. …If the issue is not the size of Israel, but its existence, negotiations are foredoomed. And in light of the past record, it is clear that is and will remain the issue, until the Arab leadership either achieves or renounces its purpose — to destroy Israel. Both seem equally unlikely for the time being.Worth reading the whole piece.