Thursday, November 22, 2007


Ed O'Loughlin reports in the Melbourne Age about the doubts that cloud the new Middle East talks slotted for next week at Annapolis. It appears that hopes of success depend largely on a "key meeting in Cairo today, when members of the Arab League will decide whether and how to participate."

It would indeed be tragic for the Palestinians if the quest for peace cannot progress further because of demands for a preconceived result especially in view of the fact that none of the invited participants seem to be willing to discuss core matters such as putting an end to terrorist violence or even to recognise Israel as a Jewish state. In that regard O'Loughlin quaintly uses the term "as an ethnically Jewish state."

This will certainly help readers understand that the Israelis are not talking about a state based solely on the Jewish religion which was at the core of PA negotiator Saeb Erekat's gaffe of last week. We all know that a successful peace deal must be based on mutual recognition by all sides. It seems that the Arab states are still hung up on the issue of Israel being a Jewish state even though there are already 22 ethnically Arab states most of which have Islam as their official religion. Ironically, Israel is the only state in the region whose very foundation is based on the concept of recognition of more than one ethnic group within its makeup.

And for this reason, O'Loughlin has done everyone a service by highlighting what the Arab states and particularly the Palestinians need to understand in order to achieve peace.If the Arabs stay away from Annapolis or if the Palestinians fail to grasp the mettle and seriously approach peace through mutual recognition, I fear another tragedy coming for these sad, unfortunate people.

No comments: