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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cairo View- Salama A Salama

What is remarkable, however, is that Arab countries greeted Carter's mission with utter indifference. Even in Ramallah, Carter was met by junior Palestinian officials. Abbas, who was getting ready for a Moscow trip, saw no reason why he should confer with the former US president. But Carter got at least to visit Arafat's tomb. Cairo kept its cool. It arranged for Carter to meet a delegation of Hamas officials, but otherwise was unenthusiastic about his mission. Why are Arab officials so worried about Carter meeting Hamas leaders? Are they too eager to please America and Israel to admit that Hamas's involvement in talks is a good idea? And yet they received Tzipi Livni, Israel's foreign minister, with open arms when she went to Qatar. Her trip was even covered by a special team from Al-Jazeera. What is this all about? We want to stay on Israel's good side but won't let half the Palestinians have their say? The Arabs are falling into a trap. They are so busy listening to American and Israeli officials that they cannot spare the time to consider other options. The next few days will see another peace conference in Sharm El-Sheikh. In that conference, President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert would put their signature to another piece of paper. But there will not be solutions in this region anytime soon, not until Bush is out of office. The US has been holding talks with Iran for nearly five years in secret. We have no idea what came out of this. As far as we're concerned, anything can happen. A military strike against Iran is not to be ruled out. And renewed fighting in Lebanon is all too probable. These are things that we should be concerned about, but are we? - Salama A Salama


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