A Syrian newspaper, Tishrin, pointed out another example of Bush’s lack of a sophisticated understanding of world affairs. Tishrin referred to the Bush quote in which he referred to Israel as a “Jewish State.” Perhaps, the president is unaware but there are hundreds of thousands of Arab Muslims and Christians who reside in Israel and are citizens of their nation. Most American Jews would feel insulted if the United States was described as a “Christian nation.” Tishrin, probably reflecting government attitudes, termed Annapolis a victory “only for Israel.” It described the conference as a “carnival that reminds us of similar celebrations since oslo until today and of agreements that with time have gone with the wind.”
Arab nations have every right to be disappointed with Annapolis, but so do Israelis. The people of Israel hunger for peace and stability as much as any Palestinian or Syrian. Many agreements have certainly “gone with the wind,” but the blame can equally be shared by Israel and the Palestinians for this situation. Neither side has a monopoly on righteousness nor of being blameless. On the hopeful sign, Canny Yalon, who is close to Defense Minister Barak, urged his nation to immediately engage in negotiations with Syria. “Between us,” he noted, “and Syria there’s only one issue of a border and we were very close in March, 2000.” Why not quickly resolve the issue in order to show all nations in the Middle East that a Muslim nation can resolve long standing issues of conflict with Israel?