IN OTHER WORDS
Just a start:
President Bush’s call on Monday for a Mideast peace conference this fall is welcome, if only as a tacit recognition that his six years of passivity toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have made a bad situation much worse. Bush is seeking to convene a Mideast peace conference like the one his father and former secretary of state James Baker arranged in Madrid in 1991 — after a broad coalition, that included Arab states, had driven
Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait. Back then, Arab and Israeli leaders had reasons to believe the Americans possessed the clout and the will to impose a peace accord.
The problem now is: With Bush administration unable to overcome the guerrilla, terrorist, and criminal gangs in Iraq, the US call for a peace conference seems more a symptom of desperation than a summons from a superpower. Bush has also failed to address a crucial question: How can any peace accord with Abbas be realised without cooperation from Hamas? This is the challenge haunting the majorities of Palestinians and Israelis who want a negotiated two-state solution to their conflict. Since Hamas has an entrenched political role in Palestinian society, it too will have to accede, in some way, to a peace that brings Palestinians their state alongside an Israel within secure and recognised borders.