The most galling thing about Rice's and Washington's approach is its fundamental dishonesty. The Bush administration spent its first six years avoiding any serious engagement in the Arab-Israeli conflict, or decisively siding with the Israelis on most key contested points, like refugees, security or settlements. Now - with little time left for Rice, President George W. Bush on the ropes, his administration in tatters, America's army in trouble in Iraq, Washington's credibility shattered in the region and around the world, and the Middle East slipping into greater strife and dislocation - we are asked to believe that she will dedicate her remaining time in office to securing the establishment of a Palestinian state.In other Arab summit related news, Qadhafi has apparently declared that Libya is an African state again and not concerned with Arab affairs.
Does Rice take us in the Arab world for robotic idiots - simply another generation of hapless Arabs who have no options and must go along docilely with every American-Israeli initiative, no matter how insulting, insincere or desperate it may be? This initiative is all three.
The Rice approach is not serious because she does not prod Arabs and Israelis simultaneously to comply with the rule of law and United Nations resolutions. Instead, in her hasty and insincere diplomatic fishing expedition she casts her net wide in an attempt to catch enough "moderate Sunni Arabs" to play by American-Israeli rules. This is a direct consequence of two trends in the region for which the US must share much blame: the invasion and collapse of Iraq into sectarian strife that has started to spread throughout the region; and the persistence of pro-Israeli American policies for some four decades now, which have ultimately contributed to the birth of massive Arab Islamist movements that oppose Israel, side with Iran, and defy the US.