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The US, Israel and the Palestinians

Miles Seeley, who knows the Arab world well, writes: "The Israel/Palestine festering sore, as you call it, makes me wonder anew if there can be any solution acceptable to both sides. When I left Jordan in 1970, I said there was no possibility of a peaceful solution. Then came Camp David and Oslo and the Palestinian Authority, and I decided I had been absolutely wrong. I was amazed and very glad to have been wrong. Now, however, my pessimism is back full force. I am sympathetic to those who call for the exit of both Sharon and Arafat, but even then I doubt there will be peace in that devastated region. While I usually tend to be more sympathetic to the Palestinians, because I know them so much better than I know the Israelis, I am the first to say that there is right on both sides, and wrong. I wish I had more hope". Bob Crow writes: "I agree with Hank Levin. The main difference between an atmosphere of possibility and one of despair has been Sharon".

My comment: This is correct, but Washington doesn't seem to get it. Sharon in Washington. and he was photographed with a beaming Secretary of State Powell. The "axis of evil" should include the present Israeli government. It is an unfortunate expression. In Iran there is a reformist element in parliament which deserves encouragement. A slap in the face simply makes its task more difficult. US policy in the Middle East is out of step with the rest of the world, including Western Europe. See "Awaiting martyrdom?" (The Economist, (2/2-8/02).

Ronald Hilton - 2/7/02