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Two-State Solution, Three-State Problem (Updated)

One word never uttered in President Bush's opening remarks in Annapolis? Hamas. This snippet grabbed my attention:

The emergence of responsible Palestinian leaders has given Israeli leaders the confidence they need to reach out to the Palestinians in true partnership. Prime Minister Olmert has expressed his understanding of the suffering and indignities felt by the Palestinian people. He has made clear that the security of Israel will be enhanced by the establishment of a responsible, democratic Palestinian state. With leaders of courage and conviction on both sides, now is the time to come together and seek the peace that both sides desire.

The problem with this analysis is that all sides are not developing responsible leadership. How can this summit produce anything of substance without Hamas at the table? They were kicked out of the Abbas government in June, and judging from the president's speech, it would appear as if the first rule of Hamas is that there IS NO HAMAS.

But there is, and it's the shadow cast over all of the niceties coming out of Annapolis. Hamas ostensibly runs Gaza, and their presence in the West Bank is becoming more apparent. James Kirchick rightly points out how everyone (minus the Syrians) seems to be saying and doing the right things, but what good is this without all peaceable partners present?

Tom Friedman is equally skeptical:

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been so starved of emotional content since the Rabin assassination that it has no connection to average people anymore. It's just words -- a bunch of gobbledygook about "road maps." The Saudis are experts at telling America that it has to be more serious. Is it too much to ask the Saudis to make our job a little easier by shaking an Israeli leader's hand?

The other surprise we need to see is moderates going all the way. Moderates who are not willing to risk political suicide to achieve their ends are never going to defeat extremists who are willing to commit physical suicide.

The reason that Mr. Rabin and Mr. Sadat were so threatening to extremists is because they were moderates ready to go all the way -- a rare breed. I understand that no leader today wants to stick his neck out. They have reason to be afraid, but they have no reason to believe they'll make history any other way.

Moderates sacrificing for a greater good requires an agreeable endgame for everyone involved. As we discussed yesterday, there's a difference between peace and a lasting peace. Israel has repeatedly had the former shoved down its throat, while their enemies continue to dismiss their very existence.

Two sides can sit at the same table, and still be worlds apart. This has been the case with the Israel-Palestine conflict.


As should be expected, James Joyner writes my post for me with just one clever cartoon.

Others Blogging It:

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