As many of you already know, today was the Middle East Peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, hosted by President Bush. While many other Middle Eastern dignitaries showed up, the main attractions were Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who were there to, at least in theory, try to discuss peace between their waring peoples. If anything, the greatest accomplishment for Bush from the event was the following photograph (which is most graciously stolen from The New York Times).
Nice, isn’t it? But doesn’t it remind you of another, similar photograph from, say, 1993?
Yeah, that picture depicts then-Isralei Prime minister Yitzchak Rabin, PLO leader Yassir Arafat, and President Clinton at the signing of the Oslo Accords. Now, let’s see what they’re up to now:
Yeah, not so good. And as for the Oslo Accords, they kind of, well, failed. The Israeli and Palestinian death toll from suicide bombings and attacks over the past fourteen years should tell you that. But that was then, what about now? Here’s how our current peace-makers are doing in the polls:
OK fine, “Hamas wants to kill me” isn’t a percentage, but I couldn’t find any Abbas poll statistics in a quick Google search. And as for Olmert’s numbers, they’re the same as the margin of error, or lower! Theoretically, less than zero people in Israel support Olmert! That’s not even possible!!! But the point is that all of these guys need something good on their record if they want to go down in history as anything better than “total screw-up.”
Sure, maybe I’m taking a cynical view on the conference, which I am. But truthfully, Israel-Palestine talks haven’t worked well in the past. Rabin was assasinated for even participating in them! But I still believe that peace is possible, just not in Annapolis with a President who needs something to distract the public from Iraq. But on the plus side, Abbas and Olmert have both vowed to come up with a peace treaty by the end of the year. For their sake, and ours too, hopefully they will.