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October 08, 2007

Mideast Peace Summit In US

Did you know that the US is hosting a ‘peace conference’ between the Israelis and Palestinians next month? Neither did I until I saw this story announcing that the Israelis were open to giving control of some parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Because you know handing any territory over to the Palestinians has worked so well in the past.

But the Israeli transfer would not include the Old City and surrounding neighborhoods, (Deputy Vice Premier Haim Ramon) Ramon said. These are the key disputed areas, since the Old City contains the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount, and the third holiest site in Islam, the Al Aqsa mosque compound.

Ramon was not clear about what areas would be transferred. But his opposition to relinquishing control of the Old City and neighboring areas with holy sites — known as the "holy basin" — falls short of Palestinian claims to all areas captured in 1967.

"I agree that all the Palestinian neighborhoods except the Arab neighborhoods in the holy basin ... would be transferred," Ramon told Army Radio. Instead, he suggested a "special administration" to oversee the holy basin. He did not elaborate, but past talks have raised the idea of turning oversight to an international body.

And so we will be witness to another round of negotiations where the Israelis offer nearly everything and the Palestinians reject it as insufficient. Or even worse, under US sponsorship, Israel will sit down with ‘President’ Abbas and agree to turn over parts of Israel’s ‘Eternal Capital’ for promises of peace that Abbas won’t or can’t deliver on.

I am not sure if this is some lame attempt by Bush and Rice to build a legacy or simply an idea that Abbas and the Israelis brought to the administration. Either way the history of these things isn’t promising. And when you consider Hamas actually won the last round of Palestinian elections and controls Gaza, you have to wonder what good is any deal that doesn’t, and by definition can’t, include them.

For 7 years Bush has, to the chagrin of the left, refused to get bogged down in the illusion that is the Mideast ‘Peace Process’. He’s never really shown any interest in crafting the kind of grand bargain that will make editorial writers and foreign policy grandees swoon. You know, the kind of deal that ignores the realities on the ground. I hope he isn’t getting sucked into something likely doomed to failure in some kind of Clintonian bid for a legacy.

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posted by DrewM. at 02:05 PM

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