Failure has its benefits

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, October 29:

Do not belittle the Annapolis summit. Despite all the prophecies of failure, justified as they are, this summit could still make an important contribution to the history of Israeli-Arab negotiations: For the first time, it will become crystal-clear who aspires toward peace and, more important, who flees from it as if from fire.

Israel is going to Annapolis as if by force. The prime minister’s hands are tied. If he were to dare to raise the core issues, which are the only thing to be discussed there, then his political fate would be sealed. Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu have already announced that in such an event, they will bring down his government. One can assume that Ehud Olmert, the survivor, is aware of this danger. Despite the lofty agreements that he will achieve – or not, it will seem as if his biweekly talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas never took place. Eli Yishai won’t permit it, Avigdor Lieberman is making threats and even Ehud Barak is making sour faces. An Israel that refuses to discuss the core issues is an Israel that does not want peace. There’s no other way to put it. …