GAZA (Reuters) - In a symbol of fragile hopes for this week’s Middle East peace conference at Annapolis, one Palestinian shopkeeper is selling souvenir mugs for the event -- complete with instructions to smash them if talks break down.
Under a dove and olive branch motif, the mugs carry the message in English: “Please keep this souvenir, but in case of the conference’s failure; you are only asked to break the mug”.
Tareq Abu Dayya, who runs a gift shop in the Gaza Strip, said he meant the mugs to symbolize hope the conference could lead to a Palestinian state but also his low expectations for success:
“If the conference doesn’t succeed, then the poor citizen can do nothing but break this mug. End of story,” said Abu Dayya, who reported brisk sales of mugs at a hefty $2.50 apiece.
Whatever happens, Gazans can expect to feel left out. The Hamas Islamists who seized control of the enclave in June have denounced Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for talking to Israel. They were not invited by U.S. President George W. Bush.
Abu Dayya said customers should, however, turn to the White House if they were not satisfied, with the talks -- or the mug.
He said: “They can blame Bush and ask him for a refund.”
Reporting by Nidal Al-Mughrabi