Friday, November 09, 2007

Hope for an Arab-Israeli settlement

The "summit" called for by U.S. SecState Condi Rice in Annapolis in late November doesn't look as if it is likely to bring anything like a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. However, there is just a chance it could contribute to a larger Arab-Israeli settlement -- something short of a real peace deal, but potentially important nonetheless, perhaps more important..

I've posted about Dennis Ross's suggestions for a more modest agenda. Here are a couple of articles by Arab journalists (courtesy of MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, which started as an Israeli-oriented outfit, translating especially provocative Arab writings and sermons but has become broader and more useful in scope). They suggest that it is in the Arabs' interest to attend the summit and work diligently toward a settlement. Such a settlement, they argue, could contribute to regional stability, something in the interest of all Arab governments (which fear the Iraqi Shia-Sunni civil war in Iraq spreading) and help get the Arab states together to contain Iran and prevent it from becoming a nuclear state.

Mamoun Fandy, author of a recently published book on the Arab media ("(Un)Civil War of Words"), warns that such a settlement would not mean an end to Hamas rockets into Israel, but it could help to isolate Hamas and Hezbollah and pull Syria out of Iran' s orbit and into the other Arab states'. Lebanese columnist Khairallah Khairallah argues that just because the AMericans called the summit doesn't mean it's a bad idea for Arabs. He also writes, "Is there anything worse than what is happening in Gaza, which has been transformed into a kind of Islamic emirate, ruled by Hamas in the Taliban style? The Gaza Strip has been turned into one big prison for a million and a half Palestinians who are, for all intents and purposes, under siege."

I don't know how widespread such bitterness about Hamas is among Arabs, But the fact that a couple of prominent columnists express such feelings strikes one as at least somewhat significant.


Anonymous said...

You outta be kidding about the peace with Arabs. Here's a relevant piece about Condi

Brian said...

Heh, not much chance for peace with kooks like Mr. Anonymous 3:55 around.

Mr. Anonymous would fit right in as an adviser to the Guiliani campaign.

That's how far we have fallen in this dialog.