THE SPINE NOVEMBER 22, 2009
No, it's not President Obama. It's President Shimon Peres of Israel.
No sooner had the Israeli ministry of defense released a statement--actually a plea for silence!--saying that speculation about the coming quick release of Gilad Shalit "does not help" than Peres announced in Cairo, no less, that the captive soldier was about to be freed. This is characteristic of this blabber-mouth who cannot make do with shutting up on public policy, which is essential to the definition of his job, and stick to symbolics, which are also essential to his job.
On Sunday, also in Cairo, Peres prophesied that, once Israeli-Palestinian talks begin, Jerusalem will halt all construction of settlements. This is Barack Obama's wet-dream. And, although I'm not at all privy to such secrets, I doubt that Peres knows much more than I do.
Peres, of course, has been living in "the new middle east" of comity and peace for almost two decades. But that middle east exists only in his fantasies which are lurid and false.