Middle East Peace: It May Take a November Miracle

Middle East Peace: It May Take a November Miracle

TEL AVIV, Israel -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in the Middle East this week, and while her stay in the region may be short, her to-do list is very, very long. Just two months before a Mideast peace conference is scheduled to be held in Washington, the meeting's exact purpose, agenda, and list of participants remains the subject of much speculation.

Indeed, recent rumor even has it that the November conference might not take place at all, because the Palestinians are doubtful about its prospects.

Palestinian reticence to attend the conference may still turn out to be a ploy to pressure the United States and Israel to put more "substance" on the agenda. Just a week ago, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an published an "exclusive" with details of an "eight point declaration of principles being thrashed out by Israelis and Palestinians before [the] autumn summit." However, both Palestinian and Israeli officials were quick to "categorically" deny the existence of any such document. But irrespective of whether such a declaration of principles is in the works, the general points published by Ma'an did not really differ from the positions that formed the basis for the negotiations in Camp David and Taba seven years ago.

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