[Editor’s Note: how many hundreds will die “over time” to achieve Israel’s objective?]
July 21, 2006
In Shift, Rice Won’t Visit Arab Capitals
In a startling twist that shows how tense the atmosphere now is in the Arab world, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will not be traveling next week to any Arab capitals. Instead, she will visit Israel and then loop back to Italy for a meeting with top officials from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and various European countries. Diplomats say that Egypt was too skittish to host a gathering on the Lebanon conflict in Cairo, fearing it would spark a popular backlash.
Rice had originally planned to travel first to Cairo and then to visit other Arab capitals after a stopover in Israel. Now it is thought that she will return to the region after a short visit to Malaysia at the end of the week to attend a regional summit. In that return trip, she may stop in key Arab capitals. Israeli officials say that by then, their bombing campaign may have ceased or seriously abated.
The talks in Rome will concentrate on crafting a ceasefire deal over time that would lead to the possible introduction of an international peacekeeping force and disarm Hezbollah. “The whole cornerstone is to neutralize Hezbollah,” says a senior Israeli diplomat. –Neil King Jr.