Monday, November 26, 2007

Grim Realities at Annapolis

How much exactly is Ehud Olmert prepared to accede to the PA's demands? Well, it seems fairly certain that Mahmoud Abbas, the famous moderate, is not prepared to contemplate fair compromise with Israel, to accept a formula that while giving pain to each side, will also offer each mollifying promise for the future. And since it is George W. Bush's administration that has strenuously arranged the latest search for mutual compromise leading to peace, the omens do not look particularly hopeful for Israel.

In that a Bush administration much vilified at home and scorned abroad for its consistency in embarking on ill-fated adventures, remains determined to demonstrate to the world at large and its bitter enemies in particular that America is not to be trifled with. In the process leaving the country maimed in spirit and self-regard, resentful at the sense of its diminished international regard.

Let alone the enormous costs involved in prosecuting very unpopular, difficult-to-contain wars against elusive, forever-resurgent terror.

Having experienced ignominious failures in these enterprises, the administration casts about frantically for a cause that has the potential of smoothing over the angry wrinkles of public contempt and unease with their current lot. Triumph of accomplishment - where previous administrations and 40 prior attempts to launch a meaningful, ultimately successful search for a solution to the Israel-Palestinian aggravation - would go far toward securing a noble legacy, lifting Bush out of the mire of failure.

Which must go far to explaining why the Bush administration is leaning heavily on Israel for painful sacrifices, supporting in the process the state-crippling demands of the Palestinian Authority. As a spectacle the Annapolis-located Middle East peace conference convening on the morrow enjoys the attention of the world, along with a wide-ranging cast of onlookers, supporters and involved regimes; some 50 international representatives.

A significant portion of the Arab League will be present; above all for the golden seal of legitimacy, Saudi Arabia. Egypt and Jordan, both representing the nearest to Arab allies that Israel has on its slender list of quasi-neutrality, must cleave unequivocally to their co-religionists and Arab brethren. The larger hope is that additional Arab states will agree to finally recognize Israel's legitimacy. But at what cost? Saudi Arabia loftily, sternly warns that Israel must be prepared to accept pain for gain.

Syria's final agreement to be represented by her Deputy Foreign Minister, the choice of whom can be construed as being halfway between diffidence and a snub - with the U.S. promise that he will be permitted to raise the issue of the Golan Heights in his address, is more sinister than promising. For what would result from a handover of the Golan Heights is a push for heavy Syrian re-population whose dedication to further destabilizing the area in emulation of a northern-based Gaza-like area of hostility from which assaults can be launched upon Israel, will only re-visit history and remains the reason why Israel has retained the Heights.

But here is the world waiting with bated breath to see what could possibly result from this cliff-hanging summit at which much is expected from one source, and little from the other. Agreement to submit to demands to give up control and access to Judaism's most vital and sacred trust; to cede to a Palestinian state control over Islam's third most-holy site. To welcome the hostile dilution of a state whose promise was a refuge for world Jewry through the introduction of millions of 'returnees', along with a re-drawing of borders.

The assembled Arab states glowering with distaste at the presence of an infidel nation on sacred Islamic soil, insistent that for their grudging agreement to accept Israel within the geographic fold as a foreign but permitted entity, applying their intimidating pressure. The terror armies encouraged through the Arab League's indifference to acceptance of reality, now trained and funded and equipped by Iran and Syria, await the outcome in quiescent assurance that nothing will prevail to keep them from their purpose.

Iran, deliberately left out of the equation of settlement, identified as the enemy of Arab domination. And despite its support of and dependence upon Iran's largess, Syria is present to ensure its self-interest is not overlooked; its own bitter aggrievement with Israel in whose purpose it is happy to make common cause with Iran in the equipping and training of Hezbollah and Hamas; motley as they all are in their inner core, their searing hatred of Israel drawing them to a shared purpose.

They sit, squatting on the cusp of launching additional, more ambitious, better-equipped and determined attacks on the Zionist Entity. A "comprehensive peace"? How will that be accomplished, when neither Hezbollah nor Hamas, nor the various Fatah-related terror militias, martyrs brigades, memorializing jihadists, would willingly disarm to be brought under the larger canopy of acceptance and eventual peace?

Why would they, when Iran is always there, hovering on the sidelines, anxious to be of use, supplying the newest blood-shedding technology through its Russian and Chinese sources, supplying the supporting funds for honoured families of "martyred" jihadists?

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