Poor, poor Colin Powell, always caught in the middle of all sorts of political and diplomatic crossfire. After his adventures at the U.N. regarding Iraq last spring, and his negotiations with North Korea over their acquisition of “nucular” weapons, he can now look forward to this week’s compromising involvement in that proverbial fool’s errand, the Middle East peace process.
But first, some background, courtesy of Alisa Solomon at the Village Voice, on the “Geneva Accord” (whose full text is available here):
At its heart, it proposes a Palestinian state on almost all the land Israel captured in the 1967 war. (Some border modifications would enable Israel to absorb Jewish neighborhoods outside Jerusalem for which Palestinians would get a one-to-one land swap; other Jewish settlements in the West Bank would be evacuated.) The accord elaborates an internationally monitored system for sharing Jerusalem as the capital of both states and it pledges Palestinian recognition of a right of the Jewish people to statehood (and Israeli recognition of the same for Palestinians). Most groundbreaking, it lays out a formula for refugee compensation and resettlement that “provides for the permanent and complete resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem,” thus nullifying any future Palestinian claims for Israeli land or refugee rights.
Secretary of State Powell (never, by the way, has the acronym “S.O.S.” seemed more appropriate) is scheduled to meet with the Israeli and Palestinian authors of the current peace process cause du jour this upcoming Friday.
“I don’t know why I or anyone else in the U.S. government should deny ourselves the opportunity to hear from others and who have ideas with respect to peace,” Powell said at a news conference during a visit to Tunisia.
He added that the meeting “in no way undercuts our strong support” for Israel and the road map.
OK, sounds like a fairly reasonable stance, Colin. One which, however, set off alarms with rightwing Israeli politicos. And by “alarms”, I mean, “hysterical analogies”:
“It is as though the French foreign minister were to meet (American) Indian chiefs who claimed to have been dispossessed of their land, and who were now getting organized with money provided by the Cuban ruler Fidel Castro,” read an editorial in Hatzofeh, a newspaper affiliated with the National Religious Party.
Umm, yes, that’s it exactly.
If we’re comfortable with all these erroneous socio-historical analogies, let’s try some alternates: “It’s like Los Angeles mayor James Hahn meeting with the Crips to work out their feud with the Bloods, while taking campaign donations from the makers of British “BK” Knights.” Or, “You wouldn’t resolve the dispute between David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar by having Gary Cherone preside over the settlement. Plus, Extreme sucked more than Arafat and Netanyahu combined.”
Realistically, however, the most effective way to put up a roadblock for any sort of “road map” would be to, say, build a gargantuan wall right across that very road. Good luck on Friday, Colin.