The "Negotiations Department" of the PLO today published a full-page advertisement in the four largest Israeli newspapers. Haaretz writes about the story, though its English language version garbles the tale, and if you want the full story you need to go to the Hebrew side.
(I don't know why Haaretz is so unprofessional with its website. It's not so hard to run a newspaper website: a few hundred pages each day, at very most. Unless it's a conspiracy to trip up all those folks who avidly search through Haaretz-English for dirt on Israel, by having them use unreliable sources. But I don't think Haaretz is that sophisticated. More likely, they're simply inept. But it is a bit surprising how inept).
So I carefully read the announcement, which tells us uninformed Israelis about the decision of the Arab League and of the Organization of Islamic Conference to live with us in peace and harmony if only we'll do a few things, and the list is helpfully provided. The original resolution, by the way, was discussed in Beirut the day before the mass murder in Netanya that sparked Operation Defensive Shield, in Spring 2002. A week later all these peace-seeking Arab states were braying for our blood because of that massacre in Jenin which never happened.
What can I say? I wouldn't reserve any hotel rooms in Washington for the day of the festive signing. Not yet. True, the statements are a far cry from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and perhaps even 1980s when the Arab policy was to get rid of Israel. (Remember how Egypt was banned from the Arab world and boycotted, at the end of the 1970s, for daring to make peace with Israel)? On that level, we've moved forward and things are better now. But there still are various nagging questions:
1. Israel must officially announce that she wants peace. Huh?
2. Israel must return to the lines of June 4th 1967, including on the Golan, and retreat from conquered Lebanese territories. There are tricks built into this sentence on three different points. See if you can find them. (As long-term readers of mine will know, I'm actually in favor of our moving out of most of the so-called occupied territories, so don't jump down my throat on that one). Any reasonably informed Israeli will spot the tricks immediately.
3. There must be a reasonable solution to the refugee problem, based upon GA resolution 194. Uh huh.
4. No Arab states will be required to enfranchise Palestinian refugees (paragraph 4. The formulation is opaque and confusing, but that's what it seems to be saying). A fine foundation for peace, isn't it?
All the rest I can live with, and most Israelis can too. Partitioning the land between two sovereign states: that's something Israeli voters have already accepted and essentially authorized, no matter whether Netanyahu wins the upcoming elections or not. Offhand, I'd say we're about 60% of the way towards peace. So if after 90 years of conflict we've come 60% of the way, we can reasonably expect to make it in another 50 years or so. Given that my personal estimation expects at least another 150 years of conflict, I'd sign on the 50-year version immediately.