It’s hot air, all right. Foul hot air, but air none the less. Consider all of the following:
Abbas, who cannot get his act together and couldn’t run a nation if it were handed to him on a silver platter, has told Condoleezza Rice that he is prepared to issue a "declaration of principles" jointly with Olmert.
"Declaration of principles." Apparently this is supposed to mean outlining "the contours of a future Palestinian state, " without taking on the hot issues such as final borders and the refugees. So precisely which "contours" are being referred to here?
And there’s more: Abbas assured Rice that, "We are continuing our efforts to improve the security situation."
This is really really hot air.
Let me tell you how Abbas is improving the security situation. Remember the roughly 180 Fatah Al Aksa Brigades members to whom we had agreed to grant amnesty (i.e., refrain from pursuing)? They were supposed to sign agreements to renounce terrorism and hand in their weapons. But now it turns out that some 50% of them haven’t turned in their guns. (I bet no one reading this is surprised.)
The PA had wanted to enlarge the list by another 206 people, but Israel is saying that right now there’s nothing doing. And an Al Aksa representative is talking about having no obligation to keep the peace if that list isn’t enlarged.
You can see where this is going, and it will be all our fault, won’t it?
Saudi Arabia ‘s much vaunted willingness to attend a Bush-inspired peace conference was actually a tad qualified: Only if it is to discuss matters of substance and not just be a talking shop. Said Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal: "Should we get an invitation to attend the conference we will look at it very closely and very hard."
Additionally, the prince said the kingdom was "astounded" by US criticism of its Iraq policies.
"Astounded," is it? Astounded perhaps that someone had the nerve to criticize them?
Then we might look at a statement put out by Olmert’s office, saying that he has paid close attention to the statements of Prince Saud, and that he "shares the same approach, that the International Meeting will be serious and meaningful…"
Well, that’s not quite what the prince said, was it? But how nice of our prime minister to agree with the Saudi foreign minister. Sort of.
I might go on in this vein almost indefinitely. My point, simply, is that a lot appears to be happening, but that not much is. Rice may stand on her head in her efforts to bring a Palestinian state into being, but it does not mean it will happen. (This is my note of hope, even as I think we must continue to oppose her strenuously.)
My own vote for the hottest hot air would go to everyone who refers to the PA as moderate. A recent survey has revealed that Palestinians are more radical than Muslims from Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco or Lebanon. Amongst these other groups, less then 10% of the population (in some instances a little as 2% or 3%) think that "suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are often justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies." Among Palestinians, 41% think so.