It is impossible not to be biased in the evolving story of the Middle East. Whether you are a Jew or an Arab or a friend of one or both, emotions and tempers are high. So I inform visitors and consistent readers of this blog once more of bias.
For people looking for good news from the Middle East, specifically any news that might end the fighting, today’s glimmer of hope came from an unexpected source. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas says a deal could be "imminent" to free an Israeli soldier held for more than a month by militants in the Gaza Strip. This statement was made in Rome at a news conference with the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
As quoted by the BBC, Mr. Abbas said, "I told the prime minister that as far as the question of the abducted Israeli soldier is concerned efforts are undergoing continuously that lead us to believe that the solution will be imminent."
This is good news, though not reality. A spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, the faction that dominates the Palestinian legislature, said: "Nothing has changed in the case of the Israeli soldier," Reuters news agency reported and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat also played down Mr. Abbas' comments, suggesting that they had been taken out of context.
To believe that Hamas is willing to make a deal, to think there is hope that a cease-fire with Hezbollah is possible soon, if somebody or some nation would step forward to lead, and sadly, to believe that the United States is willing to pressure Israel to stop its military campaigns in the north and south is nothing short than denial.
Public support for such military operations is high in Israel, currently around 80 to 90 percent. Add to this an anemic United Nations (the death of four personal and the UN response is proof positive) and complacent United States and the current recipe of disaster continues to unfold unabated.