I have listened to and read much coverage in recent days on the Annapolis Conference, on TV, radio and online.
Yet not once have I heard mentioned in international media the fact that since June on average a Palestinian rocket has been fired into Israel every 3 hours.
Every poll shows that most Israelis would dearly love to leave the West Bank as soon as possible, but how can they when there is a near certainty that within hours of doing so, rockets will rain down from the West Bank onto Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion, Israel’s only international airport?
The Saudis have already announced today that they will not speak to or shake hands with any Israelis in Maryland. What kind of peace conference is this?
Here are two interesting observations from among the many I have read:
Hillel Halkin in The New York Sun:
Like many conflicts in history, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not come to an end by means of a negotiated settlement. A viable Jewish state and a viable Palestinian state west of the Jordan River are not both possible.
The conflict will come to an end because the case for a viable Jewish state is the stronger of the two, the Jewish people having no other country and the Palestinians having Jordan, which will sooner or later re-unite with the 90% of the West Bank that Israel will withdraw from. How and when this will happen is impossible to predict. That it will happen is a near certainty. Annapolis will be quickly forgotten, even quicker than the Madrid Conference was. The dire prophecies of what will happen if it fails (“A catastrophe!” Israel’s president Shimon Peres, the chief engineer of the catastrophic Oslo Agreement, has predicted) will not come true.
Bernard Lewis in The Wall Street Journal:
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.
PLO and other Palestinian spokesmen have, from time to time, given formal indications of recognition of Israel in their diplomatic discourse in foreign languages. But that’s not the message delivered at home in Arabic, in everything from primary school textbooks to political speeches and religious sermons. Here the terms used in Arabic denote, not the end of hostilities, but an armistice or truce, until such time that the war against Israel can be resumed with better prospects for success. Without genuine acceptance of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State, as the more than 20 members of the Arab League exist as Arab States, or the much larger number of members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference exist as Islamic states, peace cannot be negotiated.