The Show Needn't Go On

This week the Israeli government “announced “:,7340,L-3803981,00.htmlit will resume negotiations with Syria without preconditions, and the Syrians “responded in kind”:,7340,L-3803862,00.html.
Peace talks, if they ever actually start, aren’t going anywhere, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows it. He’s going through the motions so Western diplomats don’t throw him and his country out in the cold. Syria’s Bashar Assad knows it too. He’s going through the motions so that he and his country can come in from the cold.
It has been years since I spoke to a single person in the Middle East who thinks the Arab-Israeli conflict will be resolved any time soon. Last time I visited Jerusalem with a half-dozen American colleagues, Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh bluntly told us to stop asking “What’s the solution?”
“I don’t see a real peace emerging over here,” “he said”: “We should stop talking about it.”
Some Westerners, though, can’t stop talking about it and get bent out of shape when they hear comments like Toameh’s from either side. As Evelyn Gordon “pointed out”: here a few days ago, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner can’t see the difference between Israeli disillusionment about the prospects for peace and an abandonment of the desire for peace in the abstract.



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