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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Study in Cynicism -- The Annapolis Peace Talks

The current Palestinian-Israeli peace talks being held in Annapolis, Maryland strike me as being a study in cynicism, and for that reason, even more so than in the cases of the numerous parleys in decades past, FAILURE is written large all over them.

Then why hold such talks? Why should anyone attend them or even take them seriously?

We know very well why the Bush Admin is hosting the meeting . With less than 14 months remaining of their consistently miserable days in office, the Bush people want to be able to point to one success finally, and that is to bring about peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

If it weren't such a serious matter, that goal on the Bushie part would be totally laughable. That conflict has been going on for much too long -- 60 years -- to be suddenly resolved in a few short days, and all just for the sake of allowing a certified war criminal to be able to have something on his record to hold up against the spectacular ravages that History is certain to wreak on his two terms in office.

For such a peace to blossom, the seeds for it have to have been planted long ago, and one can point to absolutely nothing that the Bush Admin has done along those lines. Instead at every turn it has supported the stronger but less justified party in their grievances, the Israelis, against the weaker party, the Palestinians, and the building of that Apart-hate Wall on the West Bank is one of the most tangible manifestations of that.

So what is the Bush Admin doing even to presume holding these so-called peace talks when, of all the governments in the world, it has been the least even-handed? I would think that peace talks are best sponsored by those with at least a little credible pretense of having had a balanced view of things, though I admit, it would be hard to find a country that in all these years since 1948 hasn't taken a dim view at some point of the things that the Israelis have done in the process of keeping an eternal foot on the Palestinians' necks.

With that in mind, what are the Palestinians expecting, when they must know that they'll be asked to make concessions equal to those that will be requested of the Israelis, when they will have nothing to concede to compare to those that the Israelis could make but almost certainly won''t, not least because they're the stronger party, and after these several thousand years that have passed since the Greeks supposedly started our "civilization," the Melian Syndrome still applies.

I refer to the incident in Thucydides' book about the war between Athens and Sparta, when the Athenians, in iron-assing the people of the island of Melos, told the Melians quite frankly that they can trust in the gods' protection all they want, but they should know that in this world the strong do whatever they want, while the weak are able to do only what is imposed on them.

And what contributions will the Syrians and the Saudi Arabians be able to make meanwhile -- especially the latter, in light of various facts such as that the great majority of the 9/11 attackers came from their country, and also a country whose high officials have such a poor understanding of basic right and wrong that, the last I heard, they (along with the Bush Admin) are going along with a recent court ruling in which a woman who was gang-raped was sentenced to six months in jail and to receive 200 lashes, for having ventured unaccompanied by a man into a shopping mall, while the rapists got off with two to nine years in jail and presumably no chastisement with a whip?

Well, I guess all these high officials who have shown up in Annapolis appreciate the perceptions that they will get, as "world leaders" who have the power, in this turn on a dime, to bring about such a long-desired peace. But my expectation is that such a peace will only be achieved a long time from now, and that, when it comes, it will happen so quietly that no one will notice till much later still. .


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