Monday, November 12, 2007

Are Fears Of An Annapolis Backlash Justified?

One theme being repeated in the media is that if the results of the Annapolis summit are not substantive and meet the expectations of the Muslim man on the street--all kinds of bad things may result.

Typical of that approach is Jackson Diehl, who wrote in the Thursday edition of the Washington Post:

For Olmert, Abbas, and Rice, the motivation for bulling through this familiar pattern of resistance may not be just courage but fear. All three know that if they fail this time, the result will not be the mere continuation of a miserable status quo. More likely, it will be another eruption of bloodshed and the consolidation of Hamas as the preeminent Palestinian power.

Noah Pollak counters Diehl's analysis by noting that the last intifada was not some grass roots expression by the Arab street, but rather a demonstration planned by Yasir Arafat. More than that, as has become clear following the outbreak of that 'uprising'--Israel has found ways to deal with the situation:
You wouldn’t know much of this living in the U.S., where the daily heroics of the Israeli security services largely go unnoticed. A lot of people—such as Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl—apparently believe that the suicide bombings of the “second intifada” no longer occur because the Palestinians gave up the tactic, or decided to halt their offensive, or no longer wish to use terrorism to kill Jews. Diehl and his ilk seem to think that such attacks can be resumed at any moment. But they are badly misguided. Anyone who doubts this should read the Israeli press on a daily basis, where stories of suicide bombings thwarted in the West Bank—as opposed to stories of suicide bombers detonating themselves in Tel Aviv—are regular occurrences.
The bottom line is, assuming that anything useful is going to come out of the Annapolis summit, it is going to be because Abbas is there to negotiate and is willing--and able--to make commitments and keep them. If Abbas cannot do that and is only there expecting free gifts, then the summit will--and should--fail.

And no amount of threats and scare tactics should make any difference.

Contrast this with the one person who is actually playing up the potential and the expectations of what can happen at the Annapolis summit--Ehud Olmert, who speaks about the exciting prospects that the summit provides. John Podhoretz notes:
A serious world leader does not offer dewy-eyed pronouncements like this just before he is to enter deadly serious negotations involving the most basic existential questions of his nation’s future. Managing expectations so that they do not come back to haunt your cause later is one of the most basic rules of diplomacy. Olmert, yet again, disappoints. Worse yet, he is behaving exactly as he behaved during the war last summer — as though he doesn’t know the first thing about what to do when the spotlight is shining on him and on Israel.
Olmert brags about how secure his position as prime minister is, despite the opposition of the vast majority of Israelis. It is a pity that he is so incapable of making Israel feel more secure.

Technorati Tag: and .

Post a Comment