Rice is studying previous Mid-East peace efforts

According to a story out of Washington from the Associated Press’ Matthew Lee today, “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is looking to the past for lessons on how to make next month’s Mideast peace conference a success”.

Very good.

A few days ago, Rice said something that should have made our ears perk up, in testimony to U.S. Congressmen at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee [See the post "Rice tells US Congress — ???" on our sister log, UN-Truth, here.]

What Rice said was: “For more than six decades, over the course of many administrations, American leaders of both parties have worked for peace and security in the region, not always perfectly, but consistently”.

Not always perfectly???

Today’s story, it is apparent, emerged from Friday’s daily briefing at the U.S. State Department by spokesman Sean McCormack — and from a journalist’s question, probably from the AP writer Matthew Lee, about why Rice spoke with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, an appointment that would have been listed on her daily schedule, or mentioned around the State Department press office.

The full unvarnished excerpt of the exchange at yesterday’s State Department briefing is reproduced here — it shows, at least, that this is one story that was not spoon-fed to the press:

“QUESTION: The Secretary this week also apparently met with President Carter.

MR. MCCORMACK: She did.

QUESTION: What can you tell us about that meeting?

MR. MCCORMACK: Again, I wasn’t in on that one. And they had a fairly good discussion about a variety of different issues. They talked about our efforts in the Middle East. It was a good cordial meeting. She was talking to President Carter about what we were doing.

QUESTION: Compared to what he did?

MR. MCCORMACK: No. This isn’t a game of one-upsmanship.

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Where are the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations?

The U.S. State Department has announced that “Secretary Rice will visit Jerusalem and Ramallah November 4-6 to continue her discussions with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to support their ongoing bilateral dialogue and the serious effort underway to draft a joint document that could lay the foundation for negotiations. [n.b., notice the qualifiers] The Secretary will follow up on her recent discussions with the parties on the need for progress on phase one commitments under the Roadmap both to improve conditions on the ground and to build confidence between the parties …

What, exactly, does that mean? That Israel must remove a few roadblocks in the West Bank, which it has promised to do for months (while reportedly putting into place a few more…)? And that the Palestinians must do what? Ensure (Israeli) security???

Israeli officials say almost unanimously these days that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is too weak to deliver peace.

So, what do they want? A 100-year truce, many Israelis say, to see if the Palestinians are really serious about making peace. Hamas has proposed only a 10-year truce … but many Israelis appear utterly convinced that, after that, there would only be more attempts to ensure their destruction as a state as well as a nation.

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