Avi Shlaim on Washington Middle East peace talks: “Maybe the pope will start smoking pot”

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Avi Shlaim, author of Israel and Palestine, comments on the Middle East peace summit in Washington for the Guardian:

The pope, according to a no doubt apocryphal story, maintains that there are two possible solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict—the realistic and the miraculous. The realistic solution involves divine intervention; the miraculous solution involves a voluntary agreement between the parties themselves. The American-sponsored peace talks that got under way in Washington last week may be viewed in this light. It will take nothing less than a miracle to produce a peaceful settlement of the century-old conflict between Jews and Arabs over the Holy Land ...

Yet the possibility of a change of heart cannot be entirely ruled out. Maybe Netanyahu will surprise us all by moving on from the relentless rejectionism of the past to become a peacemaker. And maybe the pope will start smoking pot.

Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.

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