Parties to the Middle East talks in Annapolis fall into two groups: those who frankly don’t care if the ‘Palestine problem’ is resolved and those whose lives and livelihoods depend on it. Unfortunately the former group includes all the nations with the power to do anything about it and the latter only the utterly powerless.
Of course, I’m being rhetorical. Everybody cares about the miserable Israel/Palestine impasse. It’s just that nobody has any political skin in the game. In fact the most powerful party and the only one with enough real world clout to alter conditions on the ground – The USA – would really be happy if things carried on as they are.
The political cost to the Bush Administration of Palestine’s continued suffering is close to zero and only increases when Hamas and Hizbollah and the other unhelpful nihilists on the Arab side start lobbing missiles and dispatching suicide bombers.
Even then, with lives being lost on both sides, the political dividend from another all-too-predictable outburst of Palestinian violence cancels the cost: “look! They’re out of control! How can we negotiate with these madmen?” For the Americans, Israel/Palestine is a miserable win-win.
Nothing can change until a more principled American regime commits some resource and some political capital.