Thursday, 12 February 2009


"Disunity is our worst enemy," the Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad tells us, and EU spokesmen would say the same thing. We want to deal with a single Palestinian negotiating partner.

The Egyptians have invited 13 factions (13!) to meet on 22 Feb to discuss the principles of dialogue, with the aim of holding a conference on 2 March to bring it all together. Fayyad says a technical government supported by all factions could emerge, or a government of the factions.

"If dialogue doesn't work then we have at least to try and freeze the animosity with Hamas," says Fayyad. "let us calm things down and set a date for elections."

But if the object is to form some kind of Palestinian government of unity, or at least co-existence, what will be the attitude of the EU? Our failure to deal with the shortlived unity government of two years ago didn't exactly help its survival.

"What benchmarks are being set by the EU?" I ask the Commission in Jerusalem. The silent response spoke for itself. Apparently the issue is not on the agenda of the General Affairs (foreign ministers) Council. It looks like the Czech Presidency is keeping it that way, sucking up to the Israelis as usual by avoiding any suggestion speaking to Hamas ministers.

So no benchmarks, and we decide our conditions for talking only when Palestinians have jumped through many hoops. Maybe it's some kind of revenge for the fact that we spend so much time ourselves jumping through hoops set up for us by Israel.

Seriously, will we never learn?!

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