3 BLIND MICE AT ANNAPOLIS
I have watched with interest the preparations for and beginning negotiations of the Mid-East ‘peace’ conference being held at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland. I have been fortunate to count among my friends several graduates of the Naval Academy, and know two young men who currently attend this fine institution. I greatly fear that this storied place may become synonymous with images of failure, meaningless pronouncements and the possible sellout and subsequent destruction of a democratic ally of America.
I am no foreign policy wonk, nor do I have any particular expertise as a professional pundit or expert observer. On the contrary, I have a healthy distrust of anyone advertised as an ‘expert’. My Grandfather often reminded to beware of those who call themselves experts. The Titanic, he would say, was built by experts with extensive schooling; while the Ark was built by amateurs with common sense. Using his reasoning, I can only equate this conference as the bound being led by the blind.
When I say the bound, I am referring to the multitude of attending countries that have a firm anti-Israel position, based on culture, religion and prejudice. Indeed, many of them have codified this attitude within their laws, firmly cementing a predicable bias in anything they say or do. I am going to ignore those countries in this piece, as I think anything further I would say or write would be superfluous to the main issues.
What is germane to the conference is the participation of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, and United States President George Bush. Or, as I cited in the title, the three blind mice. And why, you may ask, do I feel this analogy is appropriate? My simplistic view, as a certified resident of flyover country, is based on my application of common sense, as taught to me by my grandfather. As a casual observer, I can only base my opinions on the positions taken by these men, and the position of the two countries that are the actual prime movers of the current situation in that troubled area of the world.
Prime Minister Olmert has the lowest opinion level by his own countrymen of any Israeli leader in recent memory. His withdrawal from Gaza has established a terrorist enabling autonomous region that launches almost daily attacks against Israel, and is governed by Hamas, an organization whose very charter demands the destruction of Israel and elimination of all Jews from the area. He has not learned yet that the Palestinians do not want a separate state. Rather, they want it all, with no compromise, and no Israel. Yet he continues to offer the Palestinians more land and independence, further endangering Israel’s very existence. Thus his lack of support by Israelis. He is indeed both blind, and mouse like in his actions.
President Abbas has no control over Gaza, and his grip in the West Bank is tenuous, enforced by his police with assistance from the Israeli security forces. Hamas won the election in the West Bank, as well as Gaza, and have called this conference meaningless. Abbas can’t even control Fatah, the paramilitary and terrorist based wing of his own organization. If he thinks any negotiations by him will be accepted by the Palestinians, he is also blind to reality, and will (if lucky) be soon banished to some mouse hole.
President Bush has a domestic approval rating only slightly better than Congress. His positions on illegal immigration, and other issues, have even eroded his support among those who elected him. He has invited a myriad of nations to the conference, all but two with no real involvement or influence over the issues being discussed. Four of the participants, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon could have resolved the Palestinian issues over the four decades when they had control over the Palestinian people. All they did was segregate these people from their own citizenry, and aid in establishing the attitude of victimhood and revenge that has grown over the years. If Mr. Bush thinks their participation helpful, he is blind to the facts, and is being toyed with as a cat plays with a mouse.
The only countries that have any actual influence are Saudi Arabia, and Iran. The Saudis have religious credibility within the Sunni community and financial credibility through their infusion of money into the region. Unfortunately, the financial support goes mainly to terrorist organizations, to insure them the money necessary to arm and carry on the attacks on Israel. Their standing within the social and religious areas is through their support of spreading the precepts of Wahabism within the Muslim populace. This brand of Islam preaches racial and religious hatred, and specifically calls for the genocide of Jews. That the Saudi representatives refuse to shake hands with the Israeli attendees, or even appear in photos with them, makes it pretty clear to this observer that they have no interest in any peaceful settlement.
Iran continues to support and arm Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, rearming them so that they can restart their active campaign to destroy Israel. Hezbollah, like Hamas, has at its core belief the complete destruction of Israel. Let me remind you that Hezbollah is second only to Al Qaida in the murder of Americans, and are as much an enemy of the United States as is Al Qaida. The President of Iran has repeatedly called for the destruction of both the United States and Israel, and a continuation of the Islamic Jihad against all things Western and democratic. Somehow, I doubt that an equitable settlement is in their interest.
The bottom line to me is that the entire comedy of this conference is an exercise in futility. The Palestinians do not want an accord, they want Israel to disappear. Almost all of the attendees want the same, even if they do not want to participate directly in Israel’s destruction. Any pronouncement by the three main participants will be considered meaningless due to their weak standing at home and the overwhelming opposition to the continued existence of Israel by most other nations at the table. My only question is how destructive the results can be to our only true friend in the region, and ultimately, to our own interests and influence.
But that is just my opinion, and I could be wrong. After all, I am no expert.