The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has talked down any expectations of a peace agreement with the Palestinians by the end of 2008 that might have been generated by last week’s meetings in Annapolis.
Reporting to his cabinet, Mr Olmert insisted that there was "no commitment to a specific timetable". While every effort would be made to hold accelerated negotiations, beginning on 12 December, Israel would implement any agreement only after the Palestinians fulfilled all their obligations under the 2003 international roadmap for peace. "I think this is very important," Mr Olmert said, "and assures the security component, which is the most important issue that we are dealing with".
The roadmap, drafted by the US, European Union, United Nations and Russia, requires the Palestinian Authority to end violence and "begin sustained, targeted and effective operations aimed at confronting all those who engage in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure"…
I am feeling optimistic about Palestine.
I know it sounds crazy. How can I use "optimistic" and "Palestine" in the same sentence when conditions on the ground only seem to get worse? Israeli settlements continue to expand on a daily basis, the checkpoints and segregated road system are becoming more and more institutionalized, more than 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners are being held in Israeli jails, Gaza is under heavy attack and the borders are entirely controlled by Israel, preventing people from getting their most basic human needs met.
We can never forget these things and the daily suffering of the people, and yet I dare to say that I am optimistic. Why? Ehud Olmert. Let me clarify. Better yet, let’s let him clarify:
"The day will come when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights. As soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished."..