Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The middle ground is sometimes hard to find

One can but be grateful for the Kazakhstan News Agency, Kazinform. How else could one find out that the foreign ministers of the 27 EU member states are all in Riyadh, meeting with their counterparts from the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)?

As the agenda includes an extensive discussion of a possible free-trade agreement between the two groupings, Commissar Mandelson was also there to discuss details of the possible agreement (though what it would involve is not entirely clear).

The German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, expressed himself delighted with Saudi Arabia’s initiative for Middle East peace, proposed at the 19th Arab Summit (and largely forgotten by most Arabs).

Herr Steinmeier expressed hopes that the initiative will be the middle ground between Palestinians and Israel. Hmm. The middle ground between them tends to be barbed wire and minefields but, I presume, that is not what Herr Steinmeier means.

There is a problem, however. The Palestinians have made it quite clear that they want to destroy Israel. The Israelis have made it equally clear that they intend to survive. Where is the middle ground between those two positions?

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