Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rice-Olmert-Abbas: End of the Affair

Contributed by Lucia

By Tony Karon

"......Earlier this year, motivated more by its designs on aggression against Iran than anything else, the Administration appeared to convince itself — and no one but itself — that Hamas’s ejection of Fatah security forces from Gaza earlier this year created an “opportunity” for a process that would achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians at the same time as isolating the likes of Hamas, Hizballah, Syria and Iran......

The expectation that President Bush’s planned November Middle East peace conference will fail is so widespread on all sides of the divide that it might be deemed conventional wisdom. Neither the Israelis, nor the Palestinians and other Arabs, nor most longtime Middle East hands in Washington and other capitals are expecting the Annapolis event, as conceived by the Bush Administration, to produce much of value; instead, their shared concern is largely to head off the very real possibility that its failure actually makes the situation in the Middle East a lot worse, by cutting the already slender ground out from under Palestinian and Arab moderates. Right now, the likes of Abbas represent a minority view even in Fatah when they continue to assume that a U.S.-led diplomatic process can bring a fair and credible solution to this most toxic of conflicts.......

The Bush Administration has no intention of doing that, of course. Essentially, it has nothing to offer the very “moderates” it ostensibly backs. Annapolis, if it goes ahead, may simply turn out to be a wake, marking the closure of the era of Pax Americana as the basis of resolving Middle Eastern conflicts."

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