Sunday, May 25, 2003

Party Line/Story Line

I remain skeptical of the current Roadmap to Peace Initiative, even after the supposedly historic decision of the Israeli cabinet to agree to a Palestinian state. What actually happened in Jerusalem and what is being reported in the United States are not entirely congruent. For example, the implication is that Sharon and his people have accepted the Bush plan or at least its important provisions. But the cabinet ruled out in advance any consideration of the so-called right of return and Sharon will go to the summit with a secret list of 14 non-negotiable reservations. On the critical issue of settlements, the prime minister reiterated that only building on sites not approved by the Israeli Government will be stopped. One can find all these “details” on the BBC world service. CNN isn’t reporting them, at least this morning on its website.

By the way, agreeing to a Palestinian state is less of a concession than it appears to be, especially in the aftermath of the conquest of Iraq. It is perfectly clear that a rump Palestine will have no more genuine sovereignty relative to Israel than Panama does relative to us. Why would Sharon have any more compunction about bombing the state of Palestine than he had about bombing the West Bank? International law didn’t restrain his activities in Lebanon, and the strictures against preventative war have greatly lessoned in the Bushzeit.

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