Talking to Nasser Kidweh in Ramallah yesterday was like chatting to somebody who had been asked to act out the phrase “world-weary” in a game of charades: lots of long pauses, shrugs and despairing laughter, from beneath hooded eyelids. Kidweh is Palestinian aristocracy – a former ambassador to the UN, a member of the Fathah central committee who is tipped as a possible future president, partly because he is also a nephew of Yasser Arafat.
I think anybody who has lived through more than 20 years of “peace talks” and observes the steady progress of Israeli settlements on the West Bank – and Hamas’s grip on Gaza – has some reason to be a little world weary. But, actually, beneath the gloomy manner, some of what Kidweh had to say was surprisingly cheery. He was surprisingly open in his enthusiasm for the Obama administration and is delighted by the idea that the US may soon present its own peace plan. (The Israelis hate this idea.) He thinks that the US has finally understood that settlements are the main block to a peace deal. Read more