Poor Palestine. Any time NPR covers Palestine you can be sure that the debate will range between Likud and Kadima or between the US State Department then and the State Department now. Tonight offered a nice example of this wide open debate. Michele Kelemen is covering the "grotesque spectacle" of the Annapolis conference. Siegel sets the table with this lead: "...and now all the talk is about what happens after Annapolis and whether the US will continue to put its diplomatic weight behind negotiations." I love how he sneaks that "continue" in there, disguising the fact that the US has been complicit in the wholesale destruction of the Palestinians and - on the contrary - implying that the US has been pushing for serious negotiations over the years.
Kelemen, fresh off the ropes, tags up and jumps in: "When President Bush called for the conference back in July...the idea was to boost moderates in the Palestinian Authority and build up institutions that would be needed for an eventual state." Wow! Boosting moderates! And building institutions! [translation: promoting peace-lovers like Bombardier Olmert and building settlements].
In the interest of fairness and balance NPR doesn't give us just Kelemen; we get to hear from two analysts. The first is Aaron David Miller from the Woodrow Wilson Center. "For the previous two decades, he served at the Department of State as an adviser to six Secretaries of State, where he helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israel peace process." [from his bio at the Wilson Center]. That seems like a fair representative of the US State Department point of view. And now for the different point of view...
The second analyst is Rob Malley from the International Crisis Group. Rob's bio at the ICG gives his work history: "Director for Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, National Security Council, 1994-1996, Executive Assistant to Samuel R. Berger, National Security Advisor, 1996-1998, and Special Assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs, 1998-2001." What do you know, he worked for the US government, too - even the NSC!
Of course neither of these jokers offers any serious criticism of the US role in the destruction of Palestinian rights and culture and with helping Israeli expansionism. Instead both offer mild pessimism about the Annapolis conference. Miller predicts that instead of achieving anything, the conference will "launch - presumably - a very serious permanent status negotiation on these issues." (That's rich!) Malley is a bit more pessimistic, though he says the conference "...at least allows President Bush, President Abbas, and Prime Minister Olmert to say we're moving forward, we've launched something new, now let's hope something good happens from it."
Good Lord, if NPR opens the debate up any farther, things could get way out of hand!