Well, we’ve gotten through Purim with celebration (and without a terrorist attack), and things are not too bad. Not great, for sure, but better than might have been expected. The Arabs are doing their part — via their own perversity and not because of good will — to make things a tad easier for us:
Last week I lamented the fact that Foreign Minister Livni said she saw positive things in the Saudi peace plan of 2002 (otherwise known as the Arab League imitative), now being re-activated. She wasn’t terribly upset about its call for us to return to pre-’67 lines (which she saw as a "border dispute"). The only problem, she indicated, was the insistence that refugees had a right to return. Well, I shuddered when I read that members of the Arab League were thinking about revising this clause. But, thank goodness, it does not seem such a revision is about to be made.
In Cairo on Sunday, Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa told Arab foreign ministers, meeting in advance of an Arab League summit that will take place in Riyadh in about three weeks, "The Arab peace initiative expresses an Arab consensus and will not be redrafted as demanded by some foreign powers. Maneuvering and watering down [the initiative] would be a strategic mistake. It perhaps will lead to new bloodshed."
Phew… Close call there, but for the moment Livni has been saved from her own incredible foolishness — and, I will add, that of Olmert as well.
Commentator Caroline Glick points out, by the way, that what the Arab League offers if Israel will withdraw to the ’67 lines and accept refugees is "normal" relations, not diplomatic relations. With all that is demanded of Israel, there is no promise of signed peace accords, cessation of all hostilities, exchange of ambassadors and all the rest. What are "normal" relations?
Yet another horror of the Saudi plan (there are many horrors associated with it) is its call for us to relinquish Jerusalem.
This past Saturday, Iranian president Ahmadinejad flew to Riyadh for a meeting with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz VI. He flew out precipitously that night and word has it that the meeting did not go well. Speculation as to the purpose of the meeting, which had considerable advance planning, is causing unease. Analysts are speculating that the Saudis — vaunted as "moderates" — were either warning Ahmadinejad about the US or offering to serve as a liaison with the US to defuse the potential for conflict.
After the meeting, the Saudis suggested that it had been about the Saudi initiative, which the Iranians supported. Iran quickly denied this and said the initiative was not even mentioned. Thought is that the Saudis were trying to establish a link between resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and issues with Iran in order to further pressure Israel.
Apparently Olmert and Abbas will be meeting next week — with neither the locale or exact date yet specified — in spite of the fact that at their last meeting with Sec. Rice it was thought unlikely that they would meet again before the unity gov’t was established. The main topic of discussion, according to Olmert’s office, will be humanitarian issues in the PA and not final status issues.
Then it has been announced that on the weekend of March 24th, just days before the Arab League summit in Riyadh, Sec. Rice will come back here for another three-way meeting. This time they are going to be discussing the Arab League initiative and Israel’s reaction to it. You can bet your bottom dollar (or shekel, or whatever, as the case may be) that Rice will be leaning on Olmert during that meeting to be receptive to this imitative.
As to that PA unity gov’t… not surprisingly, plans aren’t going well. There are still strong disagreements about who will fill which ministerial position, and each side is accusing the other of attempting to torpedo the agreement. Once again gunmen are revving up in the streets; each side is strengthening its militia. The worst violence since the Mecca agreement took place in Gaza City yesterday, with one dead.
Lest there be any doubt about whether Hamas "moderated" in forging that unity agreement — which is the impression Abbas is working mightily to give the international community — Hamas Chief Khaled Mashaal is making matters as clear as clear can be.
"Hamas after the Mecca agreement," he has declared, "is the same Hamas as before." And where did he say this? In Iran, where he has had meetings with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Manuchehr Mottaki. Mashaal further said that Israel will disappear from the world and the Palestinians should prepare for that.
Iran has promised funding to Mashaal. Iranian support for Hamas is not something new.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/3/6/posted-march-6-2007.html