Friday, November 12, 2004
With Arafat's passing I'm becoming increasingly interested in Britain's role in the "peace process" (those quotation marks are intended to convey more than the usual scepticism--in fact, I'm quite surprised that I can even bring myself to type the PP word).
Last month The Guardian reported that during a recent visit to Britain the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Nabil Shaath, had pleaded with us to intervene—to do exactly what and in what capacity he did not say—while the US was distracted with electing and confirming a president. The article does not quote Straw, who I imagine either said nothing or merely ventilated our concerns and declared our commitment to the road map. In any case, we've done nothing, or at least nothing that we want anyone to know about.
Which makes me all the more intrigued by the following unattributed quotation, apparently from a private conversation with a British diplomat:
"Our job is to deliver the Palestinians to the Americans."
(Karma Nabulsi, 'The peace process and the Palestinians: a road map to Mars', International Affairs, 80, 2, 2004, pp. 221-231)
I know too little to decide where the grain of truth is or whether it's just Delphic tittle-tattle, but I'm curious all the same.