Even in the worst of times, there’s one thing we’re never short of in our troubled part of the world: another conference, meeting, declaration, summit, agreement. Something to save the day, to “steer” us back to whatever predetermined path it is we are or were meant to be on. And to help us navigate that path.
Never mind the arguable shortcomings of this path, or the discontent it may have generated, for we all know what happens to people who question that; the important thing is to move forward, full steam ahead.
So what exactly is different this time around? Well, if you believe some of the newspaper headlines, lots. Like the fact that Ehud Olmert has promised not to build new settlements or expropriate land.
And yet, as recently as September, Israel expropriated 1,100 dunams (272 acres) of Palestinian land in the West Bank to facilitate the development of E-1, a five-square-mile area in the West Bank, east of Jerusalem where Israel plans to build 3,500 houses, a hotel and an industrial park, completing the encirclement of Jerusalem with Jewish colonies, and cutting it off from the rest of the West Bank.
The conference simply generates new and ever-more superfluous and intricate promises which Israeli leaders can commit to and yet somehow evade.