My ‘Delicious’ tagging system is not working. I found this fascinating article today by my very well-informed old friend Jihad Khazen on the recent Arab Foreign Ministers’ gathering and Condi’s meeti8ng with the ‘Arab Four’ (I hate the word ‘Quartet’ at this point.)
- According to my information, the Arab group’s talks with Dr. Rice were confined to the Palestinian Cause. Rice heard once again that all the region’s issues are linked to the fate of this Cause, which is the core of all issues.
Neither did Rice ask for the amendment of the Arab Peace Initiative, especially the refugees’ right to return, nor did the Arab ministers think of it.
This latter point is in direct contradiction to some Israeli whisperings and general hasbara to the contrary.
He also writes this:
- Two days ago, the main-story headline of Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth was: ‘New Initiative to Coordinate an Overt Israeli-Saudi Summit’, with efforts exerted by EU Policy Chief Javier Solana and Rice. However, when I read the story, I found that it talked about a possible meeting between the Arab Quartet with Israeli officials. A meeting between officials is not a summit; and it certainly isn’t a Saudi-Israeli summit, if a meeting occurs in the first place. In an article a day before this, US renowned political commentator, Thomas Friedman, called on King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to follow in the footsteps of the late president, Anwar Sadat, and visit Jerusalem.
I can say that King Abdullah will not visit Jerusalem or deliver a speech in the Knesset, not tomorrow, or even after a thousand years. I also say the same for myself, although I always prefer to speak or write as a historian, not a fortune teller. But I’m sure of my information and my knowledge of King Abdullah and Saudi policy.
Also on the current Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy, read this from IPS’s Jim Lobe.
I’ve spent most of today at a meeting on Palestinian affairs at the venerable London foreign-policy think tank, Chatham House. I did tell them this morning that I now see new possibilities for real, constructive political change within the US political firmament. Many of the others there seemed skeptical. But the point Lobe makes in his last para there– namely, that even strongly pro-Israeli American members of the ICG board like Ken Adelman and Steve Solarz have signed on to the recent ICG Board Statement calling for engagement with the new Palestinian government, etc etc– seems strongly to prove my point.
Strikes me that the once firm-seeming ice-cap that the extremist pro-Israeli discourse-suppressors were once able to maintain over all aspects of the political discourse within the US has been melting gratifying fast… So now, the world might see some significant movement in the diplomacy over this long-frozen issue.