Roger L. Simon

Positive Holy Land Developments

Most readers know I’m an optimist–hey, it works; try it–but there’s some good cause for my world view coming from the Holy Land this morning. Haaretz tells us the “Palestinian militant groups agreed Thursday to extend the “calm” in place since February, in exchange for a halt to Israeli attacks and the release of prisoners, according to a statement issued by the groups at the end of three days of talks in Egypt.”

Israeli officials are reacting with caution, as well they might. But it’s hard not to see this in the light of the Iraqi election and a million people in the streets of Beirut demonstrating for democracy. Meanwhile the same newspaper’s always useful ticker has this report from Reuters: “Hamas: Conditional truce will expire at end of 2005 if Israel does not meet demands, among them prisoner releases.”

The end of 2005? Normally Hamas gives deadlines like… yesterday. Something’s up. Maybe it’s time to review our clichés – “Trust but verify.” “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” [Hey, that last one’s from Mother Teresa. Didn’t you read Christopher Hitchens about that fake?-ed. Yes, but it’s a good quote.]