And who was there – three lame ducks playing “pretend” (according to ex-Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, talking on Channel 1,) or politicians who are singing their swan song (according to another observer on the same channel)? And what was the main achievement? Was it “the effort to reach a framework,” as commentator Ehud Yaari argued while directing his gaze into the camera, or perhaps “a declaration that was part of the Annapolis fabric”, as commentator Oded Granot claimed on another channel?
Elsewhere, Shas Chairman Eli Yishai explained why he won’t be quitting the coalition. Suddenly, all the meaningless words came together to form the real thing: We already saw this story before. This story, of endless peace conferences, is in fact a soap opera where the rules of the genre overcome the tragedies of reality. And us, viewers and civilians on both sides of the conflict, serve as bleeding extras.
Our three major channels, with their plethora of commentators, experts, and reporters, celebrated as if this was some mega-event, rather than a mini-occasion. They have always done so, from the Madrid Conference and on. This time they may have put more effort into it, because there really was nothing to say, and there was no energy to explain to the viewers there was nothing to say. What we saw was the ancient soap opera rule, whereby more episodes must be aired until the last viewer gets sick and tired of the plot.
Secondly, we saw the absence of any meaningful difference between the competing channels, which was supposed to produce distinction.
Ranging from the artificial inflation of the event to the correspondent reporting from the darkened town of Sderot, from the sweeping agreement over the quality of the prime minister’s speech to the analysis of Abbas’ body language – everything accumulated into a megalomaniac, predictable, and mostly too-long media event. Everything seemed so familiar that at one point we were wondering, why bother?