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Speeches vs. reality


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As I write these lines on May 17, the Middle East is caught between events and speeches. The events are the Arab spring, which actually started in December 2010, when a man burned himself to death in Tunisia, sparking a chain of pro-democracy uprisings all over the region; the skirmishes on the Israeli borders with Lebanon and Syria; the killing of Osama bin Laden; and the expected U.N. General Assembly motion in September, recognizing a Palestinian state. The speeches are the one President Barack Obama is delivering on May 19 (the day this newspaper appears in print) on the Middle East and North Africa, and three speeches by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: the one he gave in the Knesset on May 16, the one he will give on May 23 before the U.S. Congress, and, finally, the one he will deliver at AIPAC.

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