Monday, June 15, 2009

Israeli govt no longer an impediment to peace?

The mouse that roared... Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s long overdue concession of the need for Palestinian statehood is being reported in the Murdoch press as both a “grudging agreement” with, and a “throwing down the gauntlet” to, US President Obama’s recent speech in Cairo.

Well whatever, but meanwhile Australian foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith entertains a sliver of hope that the Israeli government will no longer hinder the ‘peace process’:

“What Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech reflects today is there is now a basis for a peace process for negotiations to commence,” he said. “We welcome the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu has, for the first occasion, indicated that peace in the Middle East has to be based on a two-state solution.”

It’s unclear from Mr Smith’s comments, however, whether it’s more a hope than a prayer...

“That is the only basis on which enduring and just peace can be found in the Middle East,” Mr Smith told Sky News. “People should now get back to the peace process in earnest.”

Perhaps Mr Netanyahu could “get back” to President Obama’s call for a halt to expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.