Revolutionary trends in the Middle East have not yet been fully played out and
it's anyone's guess as to whether the region is moving towards democracy or
whether oppression and corruption will continue to rule in another
Israel, while welcoming the overthrow of tyrants and the quest for
freedom, has consistently stated that a change of leadership without a change in
the system will not be productive and will not lead to what the revolutionaries
had hoped to achieve. The Israeli attitude has been that if there is positive
change, this will be a good sign for peace prospects in the region. The topic
was in the forefront of conversation on Sunday night between President Shimon
Peres and Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief,
with the emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the possible scenarios
at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, and the consequences of a
unilateral declaration of a Palestinian State.
Ashton was nearly an hour
behind schedule, having met previously with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
who kept her waiting for a long time.
Asked whether the meeting with
Netanyahu had been delayed, one of Ashton's aides replied grimly that it had
been considerably delayed.
Netanyahu has a reputation for being
notoriously late to meetings and press conferences, and even someone of Ashton's
stature could not break him of the habit.