By Schmoel Yitzhak
An avid follower of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations can go nuts trying to determine whether to be optimistic or pessimistic, based on reports leaking from all sources.
As one of William Shakespeare's most quoted lines puts it: To Be Or Not To Be?
In answer to that, I prefer President Harry (Good Friend of Israel) Truman's bromide.
A native of Missouri, Truman simply took his state's maxim and used it for his own purposes.
"I'm from Missouri, SHOW ME!"
Premature expectations of such as the peace talks are ridiculous and essentially useless.
For one thing, they are based on leaks from assorted sources and for another, they are designed to cultivate an opinion based on the "leaker's" political persuasion.
What's most frustrating about this latest round following so many failed negotiations in the past is the fact that one of the foremost elements -- Hamas; rule over Gaza -- is virtually being ignored.
Can any peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority offer any security guarantees for Israel if Hamas is not part of the pact?
And how can Hamas be included in any treaty since its leaders have reiterated over and over -- ad nauseum -- that the terror organization has been dedicated to Israel's destruction ever since its formation.
Now in firm control of Gaza -- and with energetic backing from Iran -- Hamas would never be a co-signee to any agreement that would not only recognize Israel's right to exist but also provide hermetically-sealed security to The Jewish State.
As one of my Rehovot-based friends reacted -- shaking his head -- when I asked him his view on the negotiations, "These peacemaking guys in Washington are sitting around talking, but forgetting about the elephant in the room. Hamas!"
Hamas is at war with Israel and, in a sense, the PLO.
With that in mind, it's impossible for any logical thinker to accentuate the positive so early in the negotiations.
We need lots and lots of time.
Perhaps at this time next year, we will be able to echo another of Shakespeare's lines: "All's well that ends well!"
But as long as that elephant in the room goes unmentioned -- and, thereby, un-tamed -- don't bet on anything ending well.