Ian Paisley Does the Unthinkable

Middle East Can Learn From Northern Ireland
Ian Paisley Does the Unthinkable
The Rev. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, leaves a crucial executive party meeting in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saturday, March 24, 2007. The DUP met to discuss if they will go for a deal in sharing power with the mainly Catholic Sinn Fein party as the March 26 deadline for devolution...   (Associated Press)

"Watching this stooped white-haired man reverse a lifetime's course made one feel that change might be possible in other intractable situations," writes Trudy Rubin of Ian Paisley's meeting with Gerry Adams to agree on power sharing in Northern Ireland. The "other situation" Rubin has in mind is  for the Middle East.

The impossible happened in Ulster, she argues, because the warring sides recognized that victory was impossible, and Rubin sees signs that the Palestinians and Israelis are getting closer to the same realization. "This very week, more than 100 leading Israeli and Palestinian figures signed a statement endorsing a 2002 Saudi peace plan," she writes. "Things, times and people do change." (Read more politics stories.)

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