Slight hope for peace

Yasir Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu have departed from Maryland's Wye Plantation. If you believe there is any cause for serious optimism following their meetings, then, as George Strait sings, "I've got some ocean front property for you in A-ro-zo-na." There is, however, a hint of a hopeful breeze emerging from Wye. It derives from the fact that Bill Clinton, Israel's best friend ever in the White House, witnessed Netanyahu's bargaining style up close. And it wasn't pretty.

As the meeting appeared on the verge of an agreement, Netanyahu brought up an old demand, which he knows is largely window dressing. The prime minister demanded that the Palestinian Charter be redrafted to remove a call for Israel's destruction. That makes sense, until you remember that the offending words in the charter have already been removed by the Palestinian National Council. Netanyahu's ploy was to insist that Arafat call together the entire 7,000-member PNC to ratify a new charter.


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