By Geoffrey Paul
August 24, 2010
I am not happy to be resuming blogging in a pessimistic mood (after time off with a broken arm). But I just cannot work up any enthusiasm for the pending direct talks about Israel-Arab peace which the US is promoting. Whether you read the stars or the tea leaves, none of the signs are in the right place. Unless the apathy which has seized most of Israel also extends to the settlers. Mr Netanyahu’s room for manoeuvre is small indeed. And unless Hamas is about to abandon every essential of its policy on Israel, Mr Abbas will be at the talks not as President of Palestine but as President of the West Bank. Rabin and Arafat could meet with some hope as both had the semblance of being strong men in charge of their forces. That hope faded because- under test - Arafat turned out to be a weakling. Netanyahu and Abbas are not even pretend strong men. With each going into the talks with one hand tied behind his back, about the best that can be expected is that they will be able to shake hands with the other one.