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November (Peace) Surprise?

I took part in a phone conference earlier this week with Gil Hoffman, the chief political correspondent for the Jerusalem Post to hear his reflections on the Annapolis conference–a conference for which expectations were so low that everyone is coming away pleasantly surprised by the outside chance something may actually come of it. Gil began his remarks by observing that every 30 years, in November, something extremely significant for Israel’s future takes place. In November 1917, it was the Balfour Declaration, stating the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In November 1947, it was the United Nation’s vote to partition the territory of the Palestinian Mandate, effectively creating the State of Israel. In November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Jerusalem, laying the groundwork for the Camp David Accords and the possibility for Israel to make peace with her neighbors.
Who knows, Gil said–perhaps the Annapolis Conference of November 2007 will go down as the turning point that led to peace between the Israelis and Palestinians?


Now as a rabbi, I’ve never been one for gematria (Jewish numerology) but I’d like to believe Gil has a point. He spoke of the surprising stability of the Olmert government, despite Olmert’s legal problems and personal unpopularity. He spoke of the international commitment to finding an alternative to Hamas’ go-it-alone approach that has destroyed Gaza and will be in evidence when donors meet in Paris next month under Tony Blair’s auspices to try to shore-up the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. He spoke of Saudi Arabia’s participation in the event and the fact that the Saudi foreign minister clapped after Olmert’s speech (even if he refused to shake the Prime Minister’s hand). He spoke of the sense of urgency that there needs to be a moderate alternative in the Middle East, with the cautionary tale of Iraq burning on the doorstep.
Are these enough? I wish I shared Gil Hoffman’s optimism, but I would dearly love to be surprised by what this November has brought.

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posted December 2, 2007 at 10:03 am

Shlog zich kop vant !
Hind sight is as the saying goes 20/20. I myself took the approach of what if , with a few Palestinian people i work with …
What if they listened to Golda mier and others and never left.
Most i talk to don’t even know that their parents and grandparents even had a stay or flee choice…my chance to teach a bit of history.
None ever remember their parents talking about he leaflets or the vehicles in the streets of Jerusalem with loud speakers.
all are surprised when i showed them copies of the leflets.
I ask them straight out what if this came to you ? would you have left or stayed ?

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A. Israel

posted December 4, 2007 at 12:28 am

I have little if any faith/hope that Bush and his cronies will accomplish anything but talk during the meetings. Un firtunately, as long as the dogs of war, mayhem, destruction still hold power in Gaza, Lebenon, and cannot even have peace among themselves, what more sould the US or Israel do ?????? My tax money gets to Hamas, why ???? Let the Arab nations and their foot the bill as they have for their weapons, not me or the US !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As long as Jerusalem is an issue, zero agreement ! Any country can have a consulate office in the holy city, but only one flags flies over it ! All others fly 18 inches below the Israeli flag as a sign of respect as well as the protector of the city for all – more so than the others ever did. I do not know what a palestinian is, perhaps notghing than a legal fiction, but a state, a nation, noy hardly, Hamas has proved it not to be. So, let it not be for anothrer 40 yrars, or more !!!!

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