Fareed Zakaria at PostGlobal

Fareed Zakaria

Editor of Newsweek International, columnist

PostGlobal co-moderator Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International, overseeing all Newsweek's editions abroad. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, which also appears in Newsweek International and often The Washington Post. He is a member of the roundtable of ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanapoulos" as well as an analyst for ABC News. And he is the host of a new weekly PBS show, "Foreign Exchange" which focuses on international affairs. His most recent book, "The Future of Freedom," was published in the spring of 2003 and was a New York Times bestseller and is being translated into eighteen languages. He is also the author of "From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role" (Princeton University Press), and co-editor of "The American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World" (Basic Books). Close.

Fareed Zakaria

Editor of Newsweek International, columnist

PostGlobal co-moderator Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International, overseeing all Newsweek's editions abroad. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, which also appears in Newsweek International and often The Washington Post. more »

Main Page | Fareed Zakaria Archives | PostGlobal Archives


Annapolis's Real Motive: Uniting Arabs Against Iran?

No one has ever lost money betting against the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Annapolis is unlikely to break that pattern. The three key leaders -- Bush, Abbas, and Olmert -- each have approval ratings in the 30s, which makes it hard to see how they can make the concessions needed to finalize a deal. The emphasis on process -- the roadmaps, negotiations, meetings, working groups -- strikes me as misguided at this point. Everyone knows what the final settlement will have to look like -- basically the Clinton Plan of 2000. The question is, can the parties make the deal? They should cut to the chase or go home.

My question to the panelists is, could it be that this entire exercise really has another agenda, to bring the Arab states together and to start working with them to counter the rise of Iran? Is this a good idea?

Comments (53)

Dear Fareed
Please contact me. I am Editor INChief of Rahavard Persian Journal (Quarterly Journal of Persian Studies in 292 pages published since 1984 in Los Angeles Ca) I saw your interview with Ayaan Hirsi and I would like to talk to you. We are against Muslim Rule in Iran and our writers are scholars and professors from around the world such as Oxford university (Professor Homa Katouzian) University of Toronto (Professor of History Mohammad Tavakoli Targhi, Perdu university DR. Janet Afary, Hamburg Universit (Dr. Jalal Khaleghi Motlagh, Sorbone In Paris Dr. Homa Nategh the famous Historian, Dr. Abbass Milani (we arrange conferences with the help of Dr. Abbass Milani once a year in San Diego called Mehrgan Conference. this years conference in Sept is about Women in the mirror of time. with speakers such as Farzaneh Milani, Mehrangiz Kar, Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh, and Dr. Abbass Milani). My Mentor and advisor is Professor Ehsan Yarshater From Columbia University who is publishing Encyclopedia Iranica since 1073 with Grants from Columbia University and other endowments. I would like to talk to you and discuss what we do and how you might be able to contribute to our cause or we might be of interest to you to know what we do. We are not affiliated to any organization and have survuved all these years only with help from our subscribers around the world. Our publication is banned in Iran and our website is filtered but I go on and never waver from the mission I have. Please contact me at sholehshams@msn.com or rahavard@rahavard.com 310-724-8117 or310-691-0104 my cel. visit our website www.rahavard@rahavard.com. Our publication is both in persian and English. I believe it is beneficial for both our causes to talk.
Sholeh Shams Shahbaz
Editor InChief
Rahavard Persian Journal
www.rahavard.com
rahavard@rahavard.com

President
Sayeh Publishing
Publisher of Iranian master Literature Censored books (Such as works of Saidi Sirjani who was killed by Islumic Government)

Partner Ketabe Gooya
Persian Audio Books
To educate Iranian youth in diaspora

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Scanning the newspapers this morning I see that Paris conferees have pledged $7.4 Billion in aid to the Palestinian Authority, saying that an infusion of cash would help the peace process begun by the United States last month in Annapolis, Md.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/17/AR2007121700210.html

“But some delegates said that pumping money into the West Bank and Gaza Strip would not lead to long-term economic growth or political moderation as long as Israel continued expanding Jewish settlements and imposing a regime of checkpoints and closures that was strangling the Palestinian economy...

"Economic development is the best guarantee of lasting peace and long-term security for Israel," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the conference host...

But it was unclear how much of the $7.4 billion pledged Monday would go to Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, a radical Islamic group whose forces expelled the Palestinian Authority from the strip in June.

Events that followed the Nov. 27 Annapolis conference contributed to Palestinian resentment here and in the territories leading up to the Paris meeting. A week after both sides pledged to adhere to the U.S.-backed "road map" for peace -- a plan launched in 2003 that calls for Israel to stop settlement activities and for Palestinians to disarm militant groups and boost security -- Israel announced the construction of more than 300 homes on occupied land on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

"I'll be eager to implement all our commitments under the road map, and I expect the Israeli side to do the same, comprehensively, and without excuses from our side or theirs," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the delegates. "I expect them to stop all settlement activities, without exceptions."

There is a fat chance that the Zionists will let up on their expansionist settlements and strangle hold on the Palestinian economy. They will prefer to keep their West Bank settlements, hog 80% of the water supply to keep their lawns green and swimming pools full, while denying the Palestinian natives the right to drill wells; even though both the UN and USA agree that the Palestinians are being deprived the minimum amount of water to maintain health.

Some people cannot be lived with; they must be expelled once again from the Middle East.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Here is the 2nd of two articles in the WP this week about the exhumation in Washington D.C. and reburial in Israel of Theodore Herzl’s grandson.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/05/AR2007120502025_pf.html

Here is the link to the 1st.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/29/AR2007112902368_pf.html

This is the tragic story of the Zionists’ greatest hero. The first article mentions in passing what an incredible simpleton Herzl was. It never occurred to him that the Palestinians would not readily give up their land and welcome the invading Zionists with open arms.

"Historians and others still sift through Herzl's writings and see many legacies. They note that he envisioned a Jewish state where people spoke not Hebrew, but German; that he and other early Zionists failed to understand Arab nationalism; and that in a utopian novel Herzl wrote, he describes a binational, egalitarian state."

From the 2nd article:

“Sixty years after jumping off a bridge to his death, the last descendant of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, was buried Wednesday in a Jerusalem cemetery bearing his grandfather's name _ bringing an end to a torturous family saga and finally fulfilling Herzl's century-old will.

Herzl's son also committed suicide. He had a daughter who was mentally ill and another who was killed in the Holocaust. In the past year, three of the founder's four descendants have been buried in Israel_ no easy task because of rabbinical injunctions against Jewish burials for those who have killed themselves or converted to other religions.”...

"His vision was realized, and now there is an exemplary nation," said Liora Herzl, the great-granddaughter of Herzl's cousin. But she noted that Zionism's founder left behind a broken, cash-strapped family. "He was completely consumed with his commitment to the Zionist idea, and his family ultimately paid the price for that."

“Norman was the lone family member committed to Herzl's Zionist cause. He read about his grandfather's work and was active in his movement.”

So here we have the idealist Zionist simpleton who is the principal founder responsible for the incredible mess we have in the Middle East today. The question for us to unravel is: what are we going to do about it?

Clearly, the rightful owners of the land of Palestine are in no mood to welcome the Zionist invaders with open arms and they continue to demand the return of their land. The USA is stuck with the consequences of its incredibly poor judgment in siding with the Zionists on this issue.

We are stuck with only two very unattractive options that I can see:

1. Continue with the present approach of funding (with my tax dollars) the slow genocide of the Palestinian people through the denial of their basic human rights and dignity. This is a fate worse than death as evidenced by the tasteless joke of the occasional exploding Muslim. The Israelis confiscate most of the West Bank water, to the point that Palestinians do not even have what the UN and the US government both regard as the minimum necessary to sustain human life, while Jewish settlers - accustomed to living in their native Europe or America - water grass lawns and fill swimming pools with water taken from under the feet of the Palestinians, while the Palestinians are rarely allowed to drill wells.

2. Admit what horrendous mistakes were made by the League of Nations in the 20th century with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the UN Partition of Palestine in 1947 and correct them. How do we correct them? Restore the original pre-1947 boundary of the map of Palestine, go back to the single state solution, recognize the Palestinian Refugee right of return, form a UN mandate to control the allocation of water and enforce the peace. The Israeli planes, tanks, ships and nuclear weapons and all Palestinian arms would be destroyed.

To my mind the 2nd option is the clear choice. What are the odds of this happening? I would say not so good; it is very difficult to admit when one has made a mistake.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/04/AR2007120401669_pf.html

The Myth of the Mad Mullahs

By David Ignatius
Wednesday, December 5, 2007; A29

…“All these strands converged in the bombshell National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that was released Monday. That document was as close to a U-turn as one sees in the intelligence world. The community dropped its 2005 judgment that Iran was "determined to develop nuclear weapons" and instead said, "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program" because of international pressure…

The most important finding of the NIE isn't the details about the scope of nuclear research; there remains some disagreement about that. Rather, it's the insight into the greatest mystery of all about the Islamic republic, which is the degree of rationality and predictability of its decisions…

The debate about what the NIE should mean for U.S. policy toward Iran is just beginning. But for the intelligence community, this rebuttal of conventional wisdom will restore some integrity after the Iraq WMD debacle. In challenging the previous certitudes about Iran and the Bomb, the NIE recalls the admonition many decades ago by the godfather of CIA analysts, Sherman Kent: "When the evidence seems to force a single and immediate conclusion, then that is the time to worry about one's bigotry, and to do a little conscientious introspection."

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

The Iranians and Israelis can relax. We have no plan to end our dependence on Middle East oil any time soon.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/opinion/05friedman.html?_r=1&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

December 5, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist

Intercepting Iran’s Take on America

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

There are two intelligence analyses that are relevant to the balance of power between the U.S. and Iran — one is the latest U.S. assessment of Iran, which certainly gave a much more complex view of what is happening there. The other is the Iranian National Intelligence Estimate of America, which — my guess — would read something like this:

To: President Ahmadinejad

From: The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence

Subject: America

As you’ll recall, in the wake of 9/11, we were extremely concerned that the U.S. would develop a covert program to end its addiction to oil, which would be the greatest threat to Iranian [and Israeli] national security. In fact, after Bush’s 2006 State of the Union, in which he decried America’s oil addiction, we had “high confidence” that a comprehensive U.S. clean energy policy would emerge. We were wrong.

Our fears that the U.S. was engaged in a covert “Manhattan Project” to achieve energy independence have been “assuaged.” America’s Manhattan Project turns out to be largely confined to the production of corn ethanol in Iowa, which, our analysts have confirmed from cell phone intercepts between lobbyists and Congressmen, is nothing more than a multibillion-dollar payoff to big Iowa farmers and agro-businesses…

Whats The Solution???:

Here we go off the topic again, bashing each other and expect peace to come automatically.

We all know whats the problem is its been the same for almost 60 years now.

We all know what the solution is its been the same with minor changes over the past 60 years.

We have almost the same players on the table as we did about 60 years ago with the exception of a few.

The only problem is that everytime we want to have peace and we talk about a "Comprehesive Settlement", we forget the meaning of "Comprehensive". To be a "comprehensive solution" we must engage "All Parties", irrespective of if we like them or not. We don't have to agree with their position, infact the whole foundation of a political conversation is agreeing to disagree.

Jordan & Egypt have cashed out on their support of Palestinian cause. Saudi's are still profiting from this. However for some reason we don't want to negotiate with Syrians & Iranians. They need a share of this pie & we can not settle this unless they get their piece.

How about next time we meet in Russia, and say this time we invite Reps from Iran (I would like to see Ahmedinijaad himself with a couple more Mullahs), Hamas represented by none else but the Prime Minister Haniyeh, Syrian represented by Mr Assad himself, Hezbollah represented by none else than Nasrullah. Firstly they will not accept the inviattion as they know they ca't deliver the solution, but that will take the air out of their argument that they are the true reps of Palestinian Plight. IF they agree to come, lets give them 2 hours each to vent all their anger and hate of the Zionists, Jews, Americans, West, Saudis, and the son of their neighbor who was crying in the middle of the night and disturbed their sleep. Once they are done venting their anger, Ask them a simple question. What You Think Will Be Just Solution for the People of Middle East without killing one more Person anymore?

Most of them you will find dumb founded, if not then here you have it. The First Step to The Political Intercourse. Once You Engage Them they HAVE To come with the solution to show to their supporters that they really mean progress. It may not happen overnite, but engagement over a certain time will surely do the Magic. Why i believe in this because I saw OSLO fianly happened Camp David is a reality so is the Reality of Two Nations Living Side By Side, in Peace & Security.

Engage them and take the fuel off from the fire.

Robert of Los Angeles:

Well, Mo ... uhh you're not a teddy bear are you, uhh Mr. Malleck, time will tell of course but Fareed's point still stands. An EU plus Sunni (plus Russia?) containment, sanctions, isolation is a DIFFERENT policy of course than an Osirak bombing run (though already done in miniature on POOR Baby Assad) or an invasion. Actually a Sunni buy-in on isolation and peace talks might preclude "madman" action on US or Israeli part because it would of course undo Annapolis and much more. So give us a scenario where Annapolis is a step towards war, cause it doesn't make sense (and don't say Brest Livotsk, or Molotov Ribbentrop as those were signed pacts that betrayed a third party but Annapolis is a continuing process where the Sunnis are a vital party to keep calm for the foreseeable future which war even with Iran would not do)

Fred Remington, Manassas, VA:

Above post was intended to be addressed to Rick Jones of Fredricksburg, VA.

Fred Remington, Manassas, VA:

Is there a branch of Hamas in downtown Fredricksburg, and are you a member?

You certainly don't sound like a peace loving Virginian.

You sound more like you are writing from somewhere in Ramallah.

All this talk of cruise missiles flattening Tel Aviv and such, tsk, tsk, tsk,.....nasty, nasty, nasty.

Get thee to a nunnery!

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

Fareed,

The last time I commented (and I had vowed not to comment anymore because I had been censored for telling blunt truths) was when Dan Foomkin had referred to Nixon's "madmand strategy" and its use by George Bush in the Iran case.

Now you ask : " ... could it be that this entire exercise really has another agenda, to bring the Arab states together and to start working with them to counter the rise of Iran? Is this a good idea?"

"Could it be .. to counter Iran?" You write? "Counter" Fareed?

I mean, don't make a fool of yourself! Bush is desperately looking for an excuse to give the go-ahed to Israel to launch an ozirak-type of attack against Iran. The question of whether they would thereafter invade Iran will depend whether the WWIII talk that Bush bandied about at the time when an Foomkin commented on the 'madman strategy' appears to become a reality in the face of Rusia and Chinese reactions to the ozirak-type attack. But by that time, the 'madman strategy' will have morphed into a 'madman reality', like it or not.

Which brings me to your other stupidity. You ask "Is this a good idea?"

"A good idea?" Is that the best term you could find to describe the situation?

Fareed, Fareed! I had been used to having much respect for you.

Robert of Los Angeles:

Lisa, so getting "called on the carpet" by Sunni forces that cannot be pleased by "Iran's nuclear program" (i.e. fissiles in missiles aimed at them and Israel (they'll get the fallout)) and "ongoing violence" (the evident plan for Al Quds (AQ2) to egg on terror, by any means possible*, where AQ 1 has been quelled; THAT is your definition of a "happy talk" day for Iran.

*The latest BIG suicide bombing in Baghdad, an AQ M.O. in a Shia shopping area (aka the "pet store" terror) was ACTUALLY by Shia terror, the Al Quds / Mahdi army Special Groups.

On Russia's Decembrist meetings, I might agree that the second negotiations that follows on from the first should be more fruitful, but how could it more important, as effect rises from cause, which as you say this all important party, Russia, dare I say, man, the Vladster, was also involved in. I love you relavists but you really should have paid attention in LOGIC class, the University made it mandatory for a reason! But I do have a reason to aid your argument. December in Putin's Russia is important because talks in an authoritarian state where there is always only one RIGHT answer is always better to FOCUS your mind than negotiating in a country where open debate and a million attorneys will fritter away your time with trivia of freedoms and rights.

Robert of Los Angeles:

Rick, glad to see the gloves are off, and that you see the UN and especially the Russians as your not so friendly persuaders, bully boys and sources of terror. Putin fits into your fascist internationalism very well but I suggest all "good things" take time, so don't reveal his "mein kampf" thoughts too broadly.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Lisa,

Excellent point; the Israelis will require some not so friendly persuasion, and the Russians are the most likely source for some advanced weaponry in the form of Cruise Missiles smuggled to Hezbollah or Hamas that may provide the persuasion. After all, their oil economy will boom indeed when the next event happens to put the Middle East in turmoil.

Here is an exchange of posts that Elevate and I had on a different board that may be of interest:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/11/hezbollah-america_lebanon.html#comments

1. “We can't let them go at it because that will disrupt our oil supply (one of the reasons if not the main reason we are so interested in the region).”

Excellent point; you are exactly right. That’s why we need to develop alternate energy sources to end our dependence on Middle East (and other, including domestic) sources of oil. The Greenies are right; damaging our environment is not required. Thankfully, the Google geniuses are now getting into this big time, so expect major advances in this area soon. See my previous post on November 28, 2007 8:44 AM.

2. “The Jewish people have done and continue to do a lot for this country... So ask yourself where would your loyalties lie?”

My sympathies lie with the oppressed Palestinians. No amount of contribution to our society or lobbying (purchasing) of our politicians can justify the illegal theft of Palestinian homes and land and atrocious oppression of basic human rights and dignity that has been and continues to be perpetrated on the Palestinians with the aid of my tax dollars.

3. “As for the North and South Korea example I believe that the DMZ and the largest landmine field in the world has a lot to do with the peace over there.”

Another excellent point; maybe we should surround Israel with an equivalent DMZ and police it with UN or US forces. It would serve a similar function as the Israeli wall, but would divide the land more equitably between Israel and Palestine. The water supply would also be UN controlled and equitably distributed between the two sides. Our billions of dollars of foreign aid would be shifted from Israel to Palestine until their economy recovers to a point equal to Israel’s.

Thanks again for the post; you are clearly an honest broker and great thinker. Now all we have to do is convince our geniuses in Washington D.C.

P.S.:

Unfortunately, after a moment of euphoric optimism, reality sets in and we realize that this approach is also doomed to failure. The hard liners of the region will never permit the “State of Israel” to remain on Arab land, nor should they. With the advent of the modern Cruise Missile that is low flying, GPS guided and impervious to radar detection, it is only a matter of time until downtown Tel Aviv and other major Israeli targets are flattened. Russia, Iran, Pakistan or someone will give or sell these weapons to the Arabs. They could but won’t use nuclear warheads because they want the land to remain habitable. They can be programmed to fly various land hugging profiles, approach from multiple directions, and no one will know where they came from.

paul taylor:

Robert: Israel expands her territory (via settlements) whether or not she is attacked.

Israel used the logic that taking land between her territory and her enemy was necessary as a safety buffer. That land could be returned eventually. But as she expands her own settlements, her safety buffer must also expand, and it all becomes land that is not negotiable.

Israel cannot expect to secure peace by simply returning captured land, even though she has limited peace with Egypt, after such a return. She must accept a formula that necessarily includes the Palestinians. They are the heart of her problem.

Lisa:

It was about many things but it would be wrong to accept the right wing spin that Annapolis was really an anti-Iran statement by Arab states...Iran is invited for the first time to the GCC next week. On the agenda is the ongoing violence in Iraq and Iran's nuclear program...I hope King Abdullah's brilliant idea for a multinational consortium established by the GCC with a plant in Switzerland that would potentially provide enriched uranium to power plants in Iran, and throughout the Middle East is on the agenda too! I think this will be a far more important conference than Annapolis. As I said Annapolis was about many things, including Arab solidarity which due to Syria's behavior has seen its cracks ...it was also about Russia's new clout in the Middle East. Syria was there no doubt due to Russian leverage, as Bush wanted all Arab states there I am assume he was happy that Russia assisted in bringing them to the table, as his Administration could not sway them, and Bush and Isarel wanted them there for the purpose of sending a message to Iran and perhaps even Hamas, as some of their leadership resides in Syria. Russia's role will be interesting as not only do they have leverage with Syria but have a relationship with Hamas. December meetings in Russia will be also more important than Annapolis.

Robert of Los Angeles:

Paul Taylor - no, Israel has grown each time it is attacked. It HAS traded land for peace - and not received much peace - and I include Egypt in this too since the Gaza frontier and shoreline is a borderline the size of a small ranch in Texas and not the whole Rio Grande if you know what I mean. A lasting peace must be verifiable and with full regional and international support, no more funny business, by everyone wanting to be the next Arafat or Osama. The US under any administration is still a better broker than Russia - honestly! and everyone knows it. Or do you trust Putin like W used to. W misunderestimated the bugger, and we misunderestimate the whole situation, you sabe?

paul taylor:

To those of you who went through a little trouble to answer my comments, yes, I'm aware that a lot of money has been (is being) wasted on Israel and the Palestinians.

The point I made did not reference "welfare monies" or military budgets. I suggested that generous monies and (correct) efforts of the U.S. could help Israel and the Palestinians work out, i.e., "negotiate...a solution to their impasse."

Stretch your imaginations a little to see beyond traditional money-wasting exercises. The Palestinians need a nation and need "nation building" more than they need personal "welfare." Israel needs secure borders; security monitoring and a working agreement with the Palestinians.

Israel and the Palestinians can actually build on each other's strengths and resources. They have been doing this all along, to a limited extent possible with continuing hostilities between them. What is needed, in order that the parties can settle on acceptable national borders, and begin the processes of building, even building together, where practicable, is a good, strong, creative leader and partner in the United States. President Clinton almost nailed it down in his last days in office.

It can be done and must be done. Anti-U.S. hostilities in the Middle East have been building up since Israel's inception. Israel, helped by the U.S., has grown in power and expanded in territory. And now Bush has extended the U.S. presence into Iraq, with hardened military bases and his vows to maintain a permanent (hostile) presence.

The U.S. can expect this to greatly aggravate an environment already belligerent to us. There will never be peace in the Middle East under these circumstances.

Joseph:

Paul Taylor, are you aware that we have been pouring money onto Israel - to the tune of $4-6 billion a year - since about 1978? We have put the money in; the only problem is that we have invested it in allowing Israel to continue its belligerency rather than in achieving any sort of peace.

Dyinglikeflies:

A Jewish atheist or agnostic is still Jewish- at least Hitler thought so when he had them killed along with the religious Jews. It is both a religion and a nationality, as the above poster said- like a Greek or an Italian. A nation, internationally recognized as such, has a right to a claim of nationhood. Jews are so recognized. Since around the late 1970s, Palestinians are now also so recognized. Neither one is happy with the fact that the world recognizes the nationhood of the other, but that's a fact they will have to deal with. As for Palestine being the national home of the Palestinians, Israel being the national home of the Jews, Japan being the national home of the Japanese etc., the fact that there will be minorities living in each of these countries of a different ethnicity doesn't negate the nationhood of the majority. Israel can still be a Jewish state, even if non-Jews live there in freedom with their rights protected as citizens.

Robert of Los Angeles:

Interesting point, Paul, but yet another unreasonable thought that defense expenditures are fungible to whatever priority a liberal thinks is better. But even accepting your premise, beside the range of the Hamas sanctions and also not counting revenues and in-kind contributions (guns) from Iran and others, around a couple billion dollars per year is given out to Palestinians. Annual purchasing power of the territories is only about 4 billion. How high should we make PLO welfare? Antiwar activists say the Iraq war is around $3000 per Iraqi but of course that's not going to personal income. In the PA it is, to the tune of $1000 per person. How much subsidy to imports and welfare for satellite TV with Israeli electricity - when people are starving and dying of AIDS in Africa and Asia? 86 million dollars to Abbas security detail by the US - I guess that was covered in the War on Terror supplemental budget! Welfare for the sake of buying peace makes no sense to me - in the long term it is no different than extortion and more destructive to economy and pride than forced labor.

paul taylor:

If Bush had put a fraction of the money and effort that he put into destroying Iraq, into helping Israel and the Palestinians negotiate a solution to their impasse, it would all be solved by now. And the Middle East would begin the slow healing process toward stability. A few billions of dollars of aid and persuasion would go far to rehabilitate the Palestinians and secure Israel.

But no, neither Bush nor most Americans will consent to pay good money toward really working for peace. Not when they can bomb a weak nation into the ground, where they hope oil will gush forth.

Robert of Los Angeles:

Of course, Sharon and Cayambe et al, you are right and Israel is to be condemned for its rank hypocrisy while the rest are to be congratulated for tough imposition of a 1500 year grand tradition of dhimmitude when of course not able to expel or exterminate the infidel.

That is why here a 2 state solution is better. An internationally supervised separation is not apartheid and it can't go any worse than Pakistan and India, huh?!!

However here's a counter example - if this is so, why is there suddenly a rush of East Jersulem Arabs to sign up as Israeli citizens??

Sharon:

CAYAMBE,

To answer your previous question whether the 20% Muslim that live in Isreal are “Jews” is No. Ultimately Israel wants a “Jew” state only. Peoples that have different faiths and reside in Israel do not have equal rights as the Jews do. Even though they do have Israeli permits they are not treated as equals. The funny thing is they claim that they’re a democratic state.

Sanjay:

I don't get it. We already have 50 plus intolerant Islamic nations on this earth. Why is everyone, including USA and Israel, are trying to create one more?
If Isreal does create an Islamic state, it should make sure that 40% of Islamic population inside Israel should migrate.
Indians made a fatal mistake by trying to create a secular state while our neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh killed and drove Hindus out. Now Hindus are being blown up inside India as well.

Bottom Line:

The footnote will read: "Truman trying to cash Balfour's check with the blood of Palestinians and Hebrews alike".

Smart Israel:

We Jews have every right to the land promised by G-d.

The gentile who doesn't understand this had better made inquiry to the Israeli lobby.

Does anybody think that the US will support the Jews in expelling Palestinian out of their home land and terrorizing them without justification?

Look at what has happened during the last sixty years our hero is no longer called terrorist, but the world has recognized who the real terrorist are, these are the people who resist our reclamation of G-d promised land.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:

Beastlet:

“This thing is farce indeed. The only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the one-state solution.”

Right on the mark my friend. This peace process will fail because the two-state solution is a nonstarter. The Jews have no right to a piece of Palestine after being absent for almost 2 millennia prior to 1947. The 5 million Israeli Jews should join their 5.7 million brethren in the USA and form a true Jewish homeland with 80% of the Jews on the planet. We can support it; Palestine cannot.

Benny:

I view this peace conference more as a meeting of the proxies of a conglomerate as they come together at their first corporate meeting in years. This time to discuss the latest hostile takeover bid. The problem is that the two serious takeover bidders have upped the antie so high that the prospect of a real hostile takeover is now a reality for the first time. They have observed the actions of America Inc. as it absorbed and brutally broke up one of their member companies, and are wondering now what the deal from Iran Inc. will bring. Both bad choices I'm sure. Religion is certainly part of their corporate culture, but they all are businessmen first and foremost.

Waiting is no longer an option...the barbarians are at the door...the board will be fired (or killed)...screw the employees...take care of the stock holders...follow the money. Right now, America Inc. offers the best golden parachute.

Anju Chandel:

Farid Zakaria sounds right in his analysis. This Annapolis peace summit seemed to be yet another geopolitical eyewash orchestrated by the US. If the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is still going on, that is simply because the US as the chief negotiator never wanted it to be resolved. And we know the reasons all too well by now: the super strong Israeli lobby in America.

Cayambe:

Andy,

I'm still not quite sure I get it. Given that Israel is "the" Jewish state (or nation), does this mean that the appx 20% Muslim Arab people are also "Jews"?

I suppose your definition is structurally similar to those who would mistakenly call the USA a "Christian" nation. Not on your life; our founders had no tolerance at all for religion within the government of the nation, of the state...thank goodness.

Good Luck Everyone:

Peace? No. Two reasons:

1) Israel was formed illegally (do you really want to get into that?).

No justice - no peace.

Justice is long beyond the pale.

Ergo, no peace - ever.

2) Nationalism.

So extraordinarily and tragically sad.

The heart of this horrible tragedy?

1) the immorality of the US and the UK governments with the support of their immoral, stupid, and ignorant christian citizens.

Why didn't they take in the Hebrews?

Any moron would have seen this coming - would have known that they were mid-wife to a slaughter.

The footnote will read: "Truman trying to cash Balfour's check with the blood of Palestinians and Hebrews alike".

Joseph:

These "peace talks" are truly one of the most sickening displays of modern politics. It is as if a plantation owner in the days of slavery hand picked a few "good" slaves to explain to him what was upsetting to his human chattel ... with the provision that no reference to slavery be made in the explanation.

What humiliation have the Palestinians ever been spared? They have been expelled from their homeland, treated as sub-human where they managed to cling on, subjected to deprivation of even the means of survival at times, along with the imposition of armed, militant colonists in their midsts. And now they have to come and kiss the hand that holds the leash on the dog that has been mauling them, and listen to patronizing lies about how badly they have been behaving, and what are they going to do to be better? And if they put the shine on well enough, they'll get a pat on the head and the means to survive (barely) until the next round of humiliations.

I say, let's just force Abbas to commit an unnatural act with a goat on camera and be done with it. It would clarify, once and for all, the contempt we hold for the Palestinians, and I'd be spared having to watch these filthy liars paraded past the news cameras smiling their phony smiles and wanting nothing more than to get their hands in my pockets. What region of a similar size to Israel/Palestine in the US gets so much of our attention and money? For the effort and funds that we have put into "defending" Israel, we could have protected New Orleans from the hurricane that we had been told again and again would come one day many times over. Too bad Louisiana didn't have as effective a lobby as Israel does.

Dear Mr. Zakaria,

You hit the nail on the head. Many people forget that about 6 months before the Iraq war was launched Colin Powell was allowed to go to the middle east to try to advance the peace process. It however was never truly about the peace process though general Powell I am sure was sincere. It was about laying the ground work for war with Iraq, and it is the same thing this time except this time the target is Iran. They (Iran) know this and this is why they are protesting. Unless Iran comes up with a deal soon acceptable to Europe on their atomic energy dispute they will be attacked and this conference is the first step. I am glad you did a story on this because I think a strike on Iran would be a disaster.

Rob:

A common enemy (Hamas) may have been the tipping point in the embrace of Olmert and Abbas. Iran concerns might serve the same function in a larger arena. A very postive thing for US security.

beastlet:

this thing is farce indeed.

the only viable solution to the israeli-palestinian conflict is the one-state solution. It was the right and only solution in South Africa. And it is the right and only solution in the middle east. Apartheid in any form is immoral, and should not be financed by the United States.

JBE:

What a TYPICAL, NEGATIVE, SELF DEFEATIST comment!

Excuse me Sir, but is it just possible that there are people who actually belive peace in the middle east is possible?

I DO!

Yes, it means enduring the people with perpetual failure notions such as your's.

Yes, it means defeating the hateful murderes in Israel and in Arab nations at the polls.

Yes, it means out-shouting the evangelical/US/Israel lobby that so often throws a wrench in the process for their own 7un-godly purposes of keeping Palesitinians under occupation.

Yes it means trying, trying, and trying again until our children can point on the map to Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem, and a violence free Israel.

I realize it helps you to gin up readership by putting forth yet another rediculous conspiracy theory about Iran being the "true" purpose of the gathering... but as much as you hate the idiot in chage (bush) I'm afraid you've been staring at your navel for far too long.

Ditch your tribal mentality and join the 21st century, Sir. Please keep these unhelpful fantasy ideas of yours in your private home where your friends can save you from public embarrasment when you utter them.

Fight for peace and support any and all efforts towards it. Its the only way to achieve it.

Andy:

Thank you Cayambe for the questions.

Because Jews for so long were stateless, people tended to define "Jew" by reference to the religious identity of Judaism, or as a racial group. Now that the Jews have their own state, there is no difference between Jews and Judaism and any other national group that has a religion closely associated with the nationality. Jews are a "race" only in the European sense of the word -- what we Americans usually refer to as nationality.

There are indeed Arabs in Israel, just like there were Jews in Arab countries (until they were ethnically cleansed in the period from 1948 to 1956, approximately). There are also large Arab populations in Europe and, increasingly, here in the U.S.

Israel is, in fact, not "a" Jewish state, but "the" Jewish state, just like Japan is the Japanese state and Italy is the Italian state. Of course, persons of Japanese and Italian ancestry live here in the U.S., just like Jews live in the U.S.

Hope that helps.

Cayambe:

Andy.....
That is helpful but still leaves some mystery. I have never quite figured out, when a person defines him/herself as a "Jew", whether that refers to their religion, their race, or their nationality.

We now have the nation of Israel, which includes both religious and racial Jews along with Muslim and Christian Arabs and Caucasians. Are you arguing that Israel is a "Jewish" nation? Are you arguing that "Jews", wherever they are in whatever country, constitute the "Jewish" nation? I just don't quite get it. Help me out, will you?

Robert of Los Angeles:

Wow Jack. What century did you just come from? The 20th century is full of secular fascist and communist totalitarian states, a few theocracies of sorts, and Western democracies. And you think what? That Bush is Hitler - grow up and read a book!

andy:

Ralph repeats a commong misconception, that "Jewish" is a religion. Judaism is a religion. Jewish is a nationality. Like most nationalities, there is a religion closely associated with it, but it is a nationality nonetheless. People who don't want Jews to have the same rights of national self-determination as all others choose to misrepresent the facts, but those are the facts nonetheless. It's no different than Greek vs. Greek Orthodox. Let Raplph argue that the Greeks don't have a right to their own country because almost all Greeks belong to the Greek Orthodox church.

rk:

Can Abbas actually make deal if he wanted to?
Wouldn't his Fatah government be forced out or destroyed by Hamas if not for the threat of Israeli
army counter attack? Wouldn't the signing of any peace deal with Israel just be used as an excuse by Hamas to escalate a civil war in Palestine? And,
is a civil war in Palestine something that some nations at this conference might use to further their own objectives. Or, will it be just another
dog and pony show?

Ergo Sum:

Conditions have changed since Bill Clinton failed to reach peace in the Middle East. In those days the US was merely an interested bystander. But since the 9-11 attack, the US has been drawn directly into the israel-arab conflict. And nothing unites countries more securely than a common threat. There is no one in the Middle East who now does not feel threatened by Iran, and all of these small countries desperately need a big brother to protect them. This is a unique opportunity for the US to succeed where Bill Clinton failed.

Jack:

Realist - yes, a worse form of government is the creeping fascism of Bush/ Cheney.

John in Brandywine:

Optimist: "Only Nixon could go to China." Perhaps the Bush Neocons may find a way to surprise us all and push for a true peace initiative for the Middle East, as Nixon found a way to work with China?

Realist: Whom I kidding?

Ralph:

Enough already! Bush should, in his opening address, declare that the United States has worked, tried, paid and sweated the Israel-Arab problem for about sixty years, and it is time for the rest of the world to take over. Assuring that a country will be "a Jewish state" or a "Baptist state", or a "whatever state" is not only impossible, but runs contrary to the very foudation of our American heritage. In addition, trying to convince the non-Jewish world that God gave the land of Israel (in a Jewish-written book) to the Jews is difficult. We have done our best, but the time is up. There will probably never be peace in the Middle East. It is sad, but I believe true.

Realist:

You bet. None of the Arabs have any nukes. If they can ally themselves with Israel, they can hope that Israel's nukes will deter the Iranian ayatollahs.

Speaking of which, can anyone name any form of government that's worse than rule by priests?

Robert of Los Angeles:

Whatcha smokin, Bozarth? Haven't found Bolton's picture at Annapolis, URL please! Not only is Bolton no longer an official but has been openly critical of Condi and Annapolis up thru this week (http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2007/11/16/bolton_questions_annapolis_peace_talks/4239/)

Terry Lawlah:

One can only surmise that anything promoted by the Bush administration should be suspect. I actually don't think they have the intellectual ambassadors to broker such a deal/agreement. It is really very scary when you think about it. I fear that today when we are on the brink of something catastrophic, most Americans are more concerned with what big screen television they are going to buy for Christmas. Perhaps they know something I don't know! I think I will join them.

Aneesh Shrikhande:

As the saying goes, if you want peace, you have to work for justice. Dr Rice does not understand this word.

Any lasting solution requires:

-- A recognition of Israel's right to exist.
-- Equal rights for all Israeli citizens, irrespective of ethnicity.
-- A Palestinian state that does not have settlements that have divided the land.

It is likely that this will happen when China, Brazil, India and Russia will emerge as somewhat-more-just powers than the USA, and can make this future happen.

One benefit of Annapolis is that it counters Iranian influence, but clearly a comprehensive and workable Israeli/Arab peace would do wonders for American foreign policy. The roadblock has always been having a legitimate and competent Palestinian leader with real power and authority who is willing to sign on to what Arafat rejected in '00. And for the first time ever, it appears that there is a Palestinian leader who is elected and who is reasonably moderate. Why not see if he is willing to agree that the "right of return" is merely symbolic and can be compensated for in currency and foreign investment, or if he is willing to acknowledge the horrors of two millenia or massacres, pogroms, and Holocaust, or if he is willing to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish state. If not, then we truly know that no Palestinian leader is ever willing to sign on to a reasonable peace agreement, which will not only be an important realization going forward, but will also be a public relations victory of sorts for the U.S. and Israel to show that one side truly is interested in peace, while the other just wants to keep fighting. But if Abbas does want to sign on to a comprehensive independence / land swap agreement that includes these principles, it will be an incredible diplomatic triumph for America that will serve to help calm and modernize the most dangerous region in the world today.

jerold Bozarth:

One picture is worth a thousand words? Then note the Annapolis peace conference picture of the person on the right arm of Dr. Rice. Yes, John Bolton, quintessential hawk, neocon, and authoritarian and ex Ambassador to the United Nations. So much for a successful peace conference.

aleks:

I assume it's about Bush's legacy, not that he ever thinks about that.

Paula Wilson:

Hello-
It seems there are many vitally critical underlying issues to the middle east political environment that are not being publically acknowledged and thus discussed in a manner that would result in meaningful dialogue that would allow a resolution to the issues in the middle east. These issues are causing tremendous loss of life, culture, and are forcing cultural changes in a way that is unhealthy for the populations involved.

One such issue may be the special abilities and resources of the the cultures in the region. Another issue may be the change in purview status that the constant upheaval in the region forces the people of the region to respond to and thus endure. The current war in Iraq is a example of such an upheaval in purview as the United States works hard to create a new system for the sell of oil reserves on behalf of that country and the various cultures within it that are striving for that revenue (for example the Kurds of northern Iraq and the recent activity of the PKK group there.)

Encouraging such discussions of these issues that are major motivating forces to the peoples all throughout this region seems to be the most vitally important thing that could be done!!!

Dr. Paula Wilson
Currently at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City Utah.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.