Rice: Young Palestinians Losing Hope For Deal With Israel
Heading Back To Mideast, Rice Says Young Palestinians Are Losing Hope For Deal With Israel
WASHINGTON, May. 6, 2008
(AP) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told an American Jewish audience Tuesday that young Palestinians are losing hope for an agreement with Israel.
"Increasingly, the Palestinians who talk about a two-state solution are my age," Rice, 53, said in a somber speech to The American Jewish Committee at its 102nd annual meeting.
Insisting that the Bush administration will never yield to dealing with Hamas militants, Rice said, "What you don't want is that the hopelessness and the vision of the extremists have no counter."
Set to leave early Thursday for more jawboning with moderate Arabs and Israeli leaders, after talks in London designed to raise more economic support for the Palestinians, Rice called on Israel to make "difficult decisions" to provide the Palestinians with the dignity of statehood.
In fact, she said, "we have a chance to reach the basic contours of a settlement by the end of the year" _ a scaling back of President Bush's initial hope for a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians before he leaves office.
Rice also poured cold water on any prospects that Israel and Syria could negotiate peace terms.
The two sides, working partly through Turkey, have shown some renewed interest. The basis would be Israel swapping the Golan Heights for a peace treaty with its Arab neighbor.
Rice said the Bush administration had tried to interest Syria in peacemaking, with such moves as an invitation to a Mideast conference last November in Annapolis, Md.
"It is hard to see there is a Syrian regime receptive" to negotiations with Israel at this point, she said.
"Syria is like Iran's sidecar," she said, aligning itself tightly with a country that threatens Israel's existence. And, she reminded the American Jewish Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobby and foe of intolerance and anti-Semitism, "you know about Syria's nuclear program."
Rice referred to a nuclear facility built with North Korea's cooperation and then wrecked by Israeli jets last September.
The central theme in her 15-minute speech and 20-minute question-and-answer session was that the Bush administration would not give up trying to steer Israel and the Palestinians toward a settlement that provides the Palestinians with a state.
And, the administration would have no dealings with Hamas or other Palestinian extremists that war with Israel and refuse to recognize the Jewish state.
"Either you are a political party or a terrorist group," Rice said. "You cannot be both."
Once again, Rice criticized former President Jimmy Carter for holding talks with Hamas leaders. "I don't see the point of trying to negotiate with people who are determined to destroy the foundation of peace," she said.
Dr. Rice is talking like a basketball coach watching the clock tick away with her team down in the championship game and realizing that with every day of 2008 sliding by, the chance of making a comeback is increasingly unlikely. Then again, maybe these statements are yet another example of the Bush Administration's arabian "end run", not meaning for any true, permanent, resolution to the conflict between the arabians and Israel, just attempting to finish the game in good form.
Her comments lead me to believe there is confusion on her part as to the reason for talks, or is it after all an attempt to stall? If the youth are not interested in peace, who are the guarantors of any agreement? If Hamas cannot be a "political party" how is that Fatah/PA can be a partner for negotiations? The trouble with such logic as hers is that it leaves the door open for one day accepting Hamas as a party to negotiations. Why, all you have to do is say you are a "political party" and ta-da, welcome to the White House.
What is it with this age issue after all? The arabians have been saying since the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland that a war of "liberation" was the only way to expel the Jews. This message has been taught for generations now in "palestinian" and arabian schools. The official PA educational curriculum and press still de-humanizes Jews and Israel. How can it be that only now, the youth of "palestine" do not talk of a "two-state solution"? The only arabians talking two-state solution are the PA on the US and European payroll. Nothing has changed in this regard.
In fact the idea of modernizing, democratizing, de-militarizing the PA is contradicted by Condi's words. It is fair to say that the PA arabians have secured more compromises, promises and diplomatic success than any effort to destroy Israel did in previous generations. An American President has called for the creation of an independent "Palestine" and the sitting Prime Minister of Israel (for the time being that is) is ready to hand over as much land of Judea and Samaria as needed with part of Jerusalem as its capital for the erstwhile new Pali homeland for a people who never had one. None of this was achieved by war, only through talks.
How is it then that younger arabians are not interested in "two-states"? Maybe it is because the older arabians are not really interested in "two-states" either and like the Bush administration may be doing, just walking the walk. So, after President Bush is gone, PM Olmert is gone and very possibly Abu Mazen is gone, then who picks up the pieces of the "failed" negotiations? When will the lesson be learned that just as when road blocks are removed Jews die, chas v'shalom, that when talks fail Jews die, chas v'shalom?