By Rami G. Khouri
What does it mean when US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says it is time to establish a Palestinian state within a year, for the sake of Palestinian, Israeli and US national interests, and that, "We are not going to tire until I have given my last ounce of energy and my last moment in office" to working for a two-state solution?
There is an unreal yet intriguing quality to America's newfound enthusiasm for an instant Palestinian state. That is a welcomed goal - if it is sincere. Rice's first big problem is that few people in the Middle East believe the United States is sincere, because every aspect of Washington's policies during the past seven years has flatly contradicted everything President George W. Bush and Rice have stated rhetorically about their commitment to creating a Palestinian state.
They seem not to realize that they are now finally paying the price for years of disdain and neglect of Palestinian and Arab rights, in favor of supporting Israeli positions. The US haughtily gambled on getting away with nice words that gravely contradict its destructive policies on the ground. Consequently, most in the Middle East no longer believe the US, respect its policies, or fear its power. Anyone who cares to live in the real world can observe this in the defiant behavior of Iran, Syria, Turkey, Hizbullah, Hamas and many other states or popular mass movements that probably comprise 75 percent of the people of this region.