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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

June 04, 2003

Peace Prospects

Taranto of the WSJ gets right to the essence of the struggle in the ME
We haven't had much to say about the impending "roadmap" talks on Middle East peace, because we're of two minds about the matter. The likelihood of reaching a real settlement in the short term seems not great. On the other hand, if Bush sticks to his principles and demands that the Arabs behave in a civilized way before the Israelis make any concessions, then there's no harm in trying. Here are a pair of articles that nicely capture the ambiguity of the situation. The Washington Post's Richard Cohen explains why peace may be a more realistic hope than ever before:[this piece posted further down Israpundit]

Bush changed the facts on the ground. At one time, the most critical of them was that Israel was surrounded by hostile nations. One by one, though, Arab state after Arab state dropped out of what was once a united front. . . . Jordan is not about to attack. Saudi Arabia has internal problems. Egypt has other concerns. Lebanon is a basket case. Syria remains menacing, but by itself it is no dire threat to Israel, and Iraq--once fearsome--is now, like the District of Columbia, run by the federal government. All has changed.

But a report in the New York Times Paris edition, on a poll in various Muslim countries, shows that not all has changed:

The conviction that no way can be found for Israel and the Palestinians to coexist is strongest in Morocco (90 percent), followed by Jordan (85 percent), the Palestinian Authority (80 percent), Kuwait (72 percent), Lebanon (65 percent), Indonesia (58 percent) and Pakistan (57 percent).

The Muslim states may be impotent, but they remain hostile, and that's the fundamental problem. How can there be peace when Israel's neighbors refuse to accept its very existence?

Reuters has excerpts from statements issued by the Group of Eight summit in Evian, France, including this:

The international community has been united in fighting against international terrorism since the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The threat of terrorism still, however, remains serious as has been seen in a series of terrorist incidents including in Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen over the past year.

Notice which country is missing? It might help the situation in the Mideast if the world's leading nations recognized Israel.