Wednesday, April 23, 2003

So what else is new?
Diane pointed me to this rather pessimistic article in the Washington Post.

The despair is likely to stiffen the objections of many Arabs to any new Middle East peace deal seen as selling short Palestinian interests and promoting Israel's further integration into the region, analysts said. So too, having been humbled at the hands of America, Arabs could be less receptive to Bush administration efforts at preaching democracy in the region.

The article misses a central point and fails to learn the lessons of the Iraq experience. Just as the USA was planning to stage a military operation in Iraq and not in Jordan or in Egypt, Israel is hoping to make peace with the Palestinians and not with the Jordanians or the Egyptians (We already did that. Sort of.). Just as the rest of the Arab world had absolutely no idea how Iraqis felt about being invaded by the USA, and were completely taken by surprised by their refusal to put up any real fight, once they understood that Saddam really was finished, so Jordanians, even Jordanian analysts (especially Jordanian analysts) can't be expected to talk for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. They haven't been experiencing what the Palestinians have been experiencing for the last two and a half years so they can't speak for them, can they (just as they weren't experiencing what the Iraqis were experiencing)? So let them say what they like. It doesn't mean they know what they're talking about.

As if to prove my point, while my mother-in-law was serving us a delicious Hag lunch, Arafat and Abu Mazen managed to reach an agreement about the new Palestinian government, it seems, with a little help from their friends (knowing Mubarak and his great love for Arafat, the heavy pressure reportedly placed on Arafat by Mubarak's emissary, the head of Egyptian Intelligence, Omar Suleiman, would have had Suleiman sitting on Arafat, pummelling him and shouting, "Ya kalb, ibn kalb*, let Abu Mazen have his way!" Excuse me while I fantasize a little).
* Dog, son of dog. Rumor has it that Mubarak has used this manner of addressing the honorable Palestinian Ra'is** once or twice in the past.
** President.