I am so pleased you shared with us Paul Beran's insights on the Mideast. After his 14 days in Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Israel he will certainly be my authoritative source on Israel. He speaks with such nice folk in Syria and I guess it means the government is also nice and would like nothing more than peace with its neighbor.
Syria, you may recall, is where President Asad butchered 20,000 of his own people in the 1980s. Syria is also where Jews were publicly lynched in the 1950s and 1960s and left hanging for days on lampposts in Damascus. Funny, he wasn't able to talk to any Jews in Damascus. He also apparently was unable to find any Jews (nice or not) to speak with in Israel. Maybe they were all out that day attacking defenseless Palestinians. I guess no one ever mentioned the two Israeli reservists recently taken out of a Palestinian jail (where they sought safety), murdered and dismembered, or the Hamas terrorists that specifically killed Israeli children, or terrorist bus bombs, etc.
There are plenty of Arabs and Jews who seek peace. In Israel there is an active dialogue daily on this subject. President Barak was elected because he is willing to consider returning all the land Israel acquired since the Arab world attacked Israel in 1967, if he can get assurances that his neighbors are no longer interested in driving every Jew into the ocean. Democratic elections are non-existent in the Arab world. Dictators tend not to like elections, or at least elections with more than one candidate.
I spent about two weeks in Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia. I spoke to lots of nice people. Maybe I should share my insights with readers of the Empire. Again, thanks for Beran's nice story.