Friday, July 19, 2013

Peace talks follies

No one except the United States wants Middle East peace talks to resume. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians are optimistic they can achieve their goals in negotiations. The only thing Secretary of State John Kerry’s “breakthrough” achieves is maintaining America’s appearance of trying to broker a peace, a narrative with which to soothe the hypersensitivities of the Muslim world.

The Palestinians want Israel to withdraw to the anemic 1967 borders, freeze settlement construction in the West Bank, and release hundreds of terrorists from custody. That’s not all they want—the termination of Israel and eventually all the world’s Jewry, plus establishment of a worldwide caliphate, remain on the to-do list—but that’s all they say they want, for now.

Meanwhile, all Israel wants is to be left alone. If they could be assured of that, the conflict would have been resolved long ago. But the Palestinian “leaders” can’t promise that. President Abbas, no matter what his intentions, doesn’t control Hamas, much less Iran or whatever regimes emerge out of the chaos in Syria and Egypt.

The chimera of peace is strong with those who see external reasons at the heart of the Middle East conflict. The reality is too uncomfortable to admit: There is something seriously wrong with Arab Muslims. It is a disorder no improvement in worldly circumstances or standing can cure. Swapping land for the hope of peace will not purge a hateful, backward ideology from their hearts. It will take a miraculous reformation on a scale history rarely witnesses. It’s a reformation Kerry, Abbas, et al. are among the least qualified to deliver.

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