In a move more symbolic than substantive, Ehud Olmert met with Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Jericho on Monday. This was the first time in seven years an Israeli prime minister visited a West Bank town. Very little was accomplished, other than Olmert expressing the desire that real peace talks begin soon.
But I have to side with columnist Chaya Gil who won't hold her breath given the history of such attempts, particularly if peace is contingent upon Israel giving up land. Since Israel has left Gaza, literally hundreds of Qassam rockets have rained upon Israeli towns. " ...on July 29, two terrorists tried to infiltrate Israel from Gaza and two rockets were fired-one landing on a college campus and injuring a woman. It is sheer luck, and perhaps the bad aim of the Hamas terrorists, that prevented more deaths of Israeli civilians."
Also from Gil's column:
"The Israeli public has shown countless times they want peace, they welcome peace, they are ready for peace. Israel's government has shown good faith in dealing with the Palestinians. Despite the continued terrorism, Israel recently released 250 prisoners who were members of Fatah. Israel allowed Gazans, who had fled to Egypt a few weeks ago to avoid the vicious fighting between Hamas and Fatah security forces and were trapped, to return to Gaza through Israel.
"Did you see the celebration on Israel's humanitarian gestures on the Arab street? No? That's because there were no celebrations and virtually no acknowledgment of Israel's efforts."
She goes on to express the sentiment that talk is cheap, and especially so in that region, and also that it can't be disregarded that the Hamas charter still calls for the complete destruction of Israel and the total occupation of that area by Palestinians.
I have to agree. Talk is indeed very cheap there and the hatred for all things Israel will be a difficult aspect to overcome. So I hope something comes of any talks and I hope it's truly satisfactory to both sides. I'm not holding my breath, either.