Cal  Thomas

Just as Thanksgiving and Christmas come around with predictable regularity, so, too, do Middle East peace summits arrive near the end of modern presidencies.

Bill Clinton had his and now the Bush administration is treading where previous fools have trod with what appears to be the diplomatic equivalent of a shotgun wedding in Annapolis, Md.

These gatherings never bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians. That's because only one side wants peace. The other wants pieces of Israel, chipping away at its borders until it can gobble up what remains of the country.

Liken it to a neighborhood plagued by gang violence. After repeated assaults on the residents and a rash of home burglaries, the gangs propose a deal. If homeowners remove their burglar alarms, dispose of any weapons they have for protection and vacate their houses, allowing gang members to move in, the gangs promise not to engage in any more violence. Who would make such a deal?

The so-called Palestinian side brings nothing to the table. It has yet to fulfill a major pledge made at previous summit meetings. If the Palestinian side were applying for a bank loan, they would be turned down for defaulting on prior loans. Only in the twisted logic of Middle East "diplomacy" is their credit undamaged.

How deep into denial is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she promotes a charade that can only damage Israel and bring the region closer to another war? What could possibly persuade her that the Palestinian side is serious about making war no more and living in peaceful coexistence with Israel? Certainly not their actions, or their Holocaust denial, textbook and media slander of Jews and repeated assertions that Israel must be destroyed.

There are 22 Arab states. Will a 23rd bring stability to the region? There is no evidence - none - that the establishment of a Palestinian state will end the violence. On the contrary, it will signal the end of Israel, because it will show to Israel's enemies that the perpetrators of violence and the breakers of promises are never held accountable. Why shouldn't those who hate Jews and other "infidels" regard Annapolis and every other such gathering as steps on the road to Israel's oblivion?

Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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