Call it a master stroke.
Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s surprise announcement on Sunday calling for a regional peace conference is bound to shame the purportedly successful Riyadh Summit.
Last week, Arab leaders – with pomp and circumstance – reiterated their peace initiative first expressed at the Beirut Summit in May 2002.
Ironically, the Arab leaders forgot to append to their reiteration that in May 2002 the Butcher of Beirut (you appreciate the irony within ironies, eh) was bulldozing his way through Jenin.
The massacres of Jenin, which offer memories of blood-soaked asphalt and contorted flesh, are not forgotten by the Palestinian people – but perhaps slid under the prayer mat of the so-called Arab collective conscience.
And so it was last week that Arab leaders believed they had delivered a strong blow to Israel – “we want peace, withdraw to the 1967 borders, implement dozens of UN resolutions you have flaunted, and we will sue for peace .
The Arab League was festooned with beaming officials, proud that they had now “pushed the ball into Israel’s court . Sue for peace, went their dictum, or appear to support bloodshed.
But the Israelis know the Arabs better than the Arabs know the Israelis.
As expected, Olmert’s announcement at a press conference with Germany’s Angela Merkel, threw the “ball back into the Arabs’ court.
Olmert called for a regional peace conference with “moderate Arab leaders – Saudi King Abdullah II included.
Saudi leaders are moderate, Olmert tells us. Quite the 180 given that Danny Pipes and other Israel supporters have been railing on and on about the Wahabi this and the Wahabi that.
So, what’s cooking in the Middle East these days? Have the Saudis and Israelis met behind glazed doors recently?
Hmmm . and talk surfaces of a new spring offensive in Gaza.