Friday, July 17, 2009

An Arab and An Israeli Leader on Middle East Peace

The Washington Post ran side by side op-eds from Israeli former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Bahraini Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa today, discussing Arab Israeli peace. Sheikh Salman emphasized the need of Arabs to talk to Israelis, stop spreading anti-Semetic propaganda, and talked of the great benefits Arab-Israeli trade would bring. However he did not mention any specific policies that Bahrain intended to adopt. Still, perhaps this is a sign that Bahrain intends to take a more active role in promoting a general peace with Israel.

Olmert's column said settlements should not be the main focus of the US-Israeli relationship, which he rightly described as one of Israel's greatest assets. However this is disingenous, as the very existence of settlements (let alone their expansion) is the main sticking point for the Palestinians, who rightly feel that any future state is being wittled away before their eyes.