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I was away …

02/09/2009

Criss-crossing the UK with my 17-year-old son Daniel in search of a University for him (he wants to do Maths & Philosophy).

So we went from London to Warwick University (which, in fact, is closer to Coventry than to Warwick, but is called “Warwick University”, and for good reason).

From there to York, Durham, Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities, and then back to London via Manchester and lovely Liverpool, stopping in Wigan, as I wanted to see the place George Orwell had written about in The Road to Wigan Pier.

So I’m safely back now and can report that while Wigan seems to have changed quite a lot since Orwell’s days (he stayed there for two months back in 1937), the Middle East – at least during my week’s absence – has not changed much.

Everything, at the moment, seems to be suspended as Arabs, Palestinians and Israelis are all waiting for Barack Obama’s next move, where he is expected to spell out his peace plan for the Middle East. Well, quite frankly, what else can this wizard of words say that we do not already know?

As far as Israel and Syria are concerned, the Israelis should return the Golan Heights to Syria and the latter to agree to arrangements whereby it keeps away from the Sea of Galilee which, for Israel, is a crucial source of drinking water.

As far as Israelis and Palestinians are concerned, the Israelis should withdraw from 94-96 percent of West Bank land and the two thorny issues of Jerusalem and the Palestinian “Right of Return” to balance off each other, whereby Israel agrees to divide Jerusalem with the Palestinians and the latter forgo their “right of return” to Israel proper, exercising it instead to their future Palestinian state.

So all is known and there is no need for new “peace plans”, “road maps”, or “Obama’s visions”.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to the need for Churchillian Middle Eastern leaders, brave enough to take the bull by the horns and cut the Gordian knot.