Annapolis, a “Venus flytrap” or “hail Mary pass” for Rice

By Ted Belman

In my article Annapolis is about wiping Israel off the face of the map I wrote,

    The Iranian threat and the alleged need to form a coalition of the losing are simply excuses to justify the undoing of Israel. That is what Annapolis is about. That is what Baker et al want. That is what US foreign policy is about and has been about. There was only a temporary respite during the Cold War.

Now Bret Stephens in an Opinion Journal Op-Ed The Annapolis Fiasco agrees,

    [..] Today, the operative theory is that Israel’s neighbors, fearful of Iran’s growing regional clout, have a newfound interest in putting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to rest.

    Nice theory–if only the locals would get with the concept. The Egyptians are openly skeptical about the conference, which they say lacks “an endgame.” The Saudis, supposedly among the beleaguered and newly pliable Sunni powers, can hardly be bothered with Annapolis; even now it’s unclear whether their foreign minister will attend. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told the Saudis he would rather resign than attend a conference that achieves nothing. He fears Palestinians would “turn to Hamas after they see that Annapolis did not give them anything,” according to an unnamed Palestinian official quoted in the Jerusalem Post. [..]

He then discusses some intractable issues,

    Among the principles sharply in dispute is whether Israel is a Jewish state. “We will not agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” says Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, adding that “there is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined.” Counters Mr. Olmert: “We won’t have an argument with anyone in the world over the fact that Israel is a state of the Jewish people. Whoever does not accept this cannot hold any negotiations with me.”

    One would have thought the question of Israel’s Jewishness was settled 60 years ago by a U.N. partition plan that speaks of a “Jewish state” some 30 times. (One would have thought, too, that Mr. Erekat would be mindful of his government’s membership in the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference.) But the question hasn’t been settled because Palestinians will not concede the “right” of their “refugees”–currently numbering in the millions–to return to their ancestral homes and farms in present-day Israel.

    Despite nearly 20 years of trying, there is simply no finessing these differences. If Israel is not a Jewish state, it may as well be called Palestine. If the existential issues of 1948 cannot be resolved, there is little point in addressing the territorial issues of 1967, which are themselves almost impossible to address. Matters are not helped by the unusual political weakness of the key participants. In the last year, Mr. Abbas has lost half his kingdom. He will swiftly lose what remains of it the moment “Palestine” comes into being and the Israeli army isn’t around to suppress Hamas as an effective fighting force.

November 20, 2007 | 8 Comments »

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  1. To Charles Martel: Mixed metaphors are far more interesting than simple metaphors. “A seed in the hand is worth two in Bush.” “Bush comes to roost on his seeds.” “The more seeds, the more Bushes to roost in them.”

  2. Felix

    I haven’t read enough about Trotsky to comment on your embrace of his political philosophy or Zionist leanings but I think you give Bush too much credit. Although I accept that via policy and shortsightedness, he has empowered and enriched the Wahhabis and enabled Islamofascism to extend its global tentacles, I don’t actually believe Bush is “preparing the ground for his own people’s oppression”; he’s not that intellectually ambitious. Bush is a good old boy, a product of his father who taught him to remain loyal to those who have enabled him to become wealthy and powerful. The Saudis have been in bed with the Bush family for years; they bought Jr’s dry oil wells years ago and he is still repaying that debt.

    The seeds of America’s current economic and financial problems were sown by others long before Bush appeared on the scene. They are just now coming home to roost.

  3. Charles

    My little bit on the issues facing Jews and indeed of the whole of humanity.

    Israpundit is a site which was launched with the aim of Jewish advocacy. That is a laudable aim but obviously as in all such human projects the issue is how to deliver that.

    There is an inherent problem with such sites and enterprises in that it inevitably invites a coalition of interests, many differing political philosophies and political positions. Fair enough so far. The problems arise when certain aspects of the issue, and the Jewish issue is the biggest in the world, are not investigated, and fought for to the very end of the road.

    So we had the founder of Israpundit, actually co-founder with 3 others, Joseph Alexander Norland, making an attack on the Serbs some time ago. The issue was not followed up to an end conclusion.

    Just a week ago there was a lining up with some Israpundit commentators with the US Imperialists who are backing the gangster, mobster and political assasin called Thaci, in the creation of Kosovo. I like to explain this as the possible equivalent of the robbing of Maryland where the Pilgrim Fathers landed from America, or Dublin where the Easter Rising took place from the Irish.

    Every single component of Israpundit is in a position of leadership. Quite simply Jews cannot win and will not win with such components in leadership in which any aspect of this is brushed aside in the fruitless pursuit of harmony.

    The big issues hidden from the consciousness of the world by the Imperialists, especially of Britain and the US, are these two:

    1. The history of Leon Trotsky, the most outstanding socialist revolutionary in history, has been distorted and hidden, mostly hidden

    2. The Nazi Fascist roots to modern Arabism, meeting up with historical reactionary Islam, have been deliberately hidden. This centres on the hiding of the historical role of Hajj Amin el Husseini, his adoption by British and American Imperialism.

    The former does a couple of things. Understanding that Trotsky became a Zionist, a Zionist from a revolutionary socialist standpoint, raises big questions about Zionism, and opens up new vistas for Zionism.

    The second opens up knowledge which is vital for Jews, but not just Jews, for all of humanity, especially for the youth of humanity. The question of why Bush supports Islam Fascism, as expressed by Charles in referring to Bush’s London interview, is not an easy one to deal with, and it opens up the truth of the situation in the world today which is that US Imperialism representing world capitalism will destroy humanity and mosy likely all of life

    I have devoted my life to creating a new leadership, a party which is based on some of these truths.

    Israpundit is a useful component in my view. However there comes a point when the penny eventually has to drop. If US and British Imperialism is doing this to the Jews in these projected conferences planned as a rolling reactionary onslaught, in conjunction with Jewish antisemites, what really is its nature.

    What Bush is doing to the Jews IS the real nature and reality of US Capitalism. What Bush is doing to the Serbs in Kosovo IS every bit its real nature also. A common pattern runs through. Fail to grasp the pattern you are terribly handicapped in the fight. I have maintained that Bush is driven into alliance with Islam in order to prepare the grounds for his own people’s oppression. We are seeing the first tremors of this huge event in the banking crisis, which is gearing up now to pull the rug from beneath the so-called Celtic Tiger in Ireland. The banks are now beginning not to trust each other. This can only end in an avalanche of collapse of credit. Alliance with Islam, which is what Annapolis is essentially, is the gropings of US and British Capital for a new form of rule.

  4. I am listening now as I write to interview with Zippi Livni on IBA, I hear nothing different than what Yossi Beilin or the Most radical left have been saying since OSLO. She promotes Good Arab Bad Arab or Moderat VS Radical. She says we will agree to principles which are contingent on no more terror and those agreed principles will be held by the Intl. Community until there is a strong Pali government able to stop terror and take over all responsibility for Israels security before Israel agrees to implement those agreed Principles.

  5. Only Pure Luck Can Save The Bush Administration Now

    There is no question that for America to take the lead and getting Israelis and Palestinians to find a workable enduring peaceful solution to their conflicts would benefit them and would also be of great benefit to America in terms of their own interests in the Middle East.

    This premise in some form was probably central to America’s thinking after 1967 when they chose to fill the breach left by France’s choice to no longer supply Israel with arms and support.

    While it is true that G. Bush was the first American President to frame an ultimate peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis within the context of the two state solution, the idea of an independent Israeli and Arab state was the premise of the November 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution.

    Since that time, until Pres. Bush’s specific words supporting an independent Palestinian state as part of the hoped for overall peace solution between Israel and Palestinians, the American policy has without using those words, tried at various times to move the parties towards that end goal.

    I imagine that prior to Pres. Bush’s openly declaring support for an independent Palestinian state, former Presidents feared that the time was not right to be so specific about the end game of an independent Palestinian state, primarily because the Israelis may recoil from such a definitive pre-judged end point to peace negotiations, but the Palestinians as well whose goals for the destruction of Israel and taking all the land for themselves seemed too entrenched to adapt to the concept of two independent states living in peace side by side.

    Things changed after 9/11. It brought into focus that the radical Islamists were now bold enough to bring their war against America to American soil.

    It also forced the American administration to face up to the fact that the Saudis were very much involved in a supportive role in the radical Islamic war against the West and America. By the same token America was very dependent on Arab oil and Saudi good will in order to ensure a stable world oil economy and to assist Americans in establishing and furthering their interests in the Middle East.

    There is no doubt that Bush canvassed his plans to go into Afghanistan with the Saudis to gauge their reaction and gain their support or their agreement not to stand in America’s way.

    Similarly, Bush doubtless canvassed and got some kind of agreement with the Saudis that they would not interfere if Bush led the charge into Iraq.

    It has been suggested by many that one of the big costs of that Saudi co-operation was for America to agree to put greater pressure on Israel for concessions to the Palestinians and to directly and openly declare America’s position as pushing for an independent Palestinian state.

    There are those who also suggest that such declaration from Pres. Bush was also a price Tony Blair demanded of Pres. Bush in return for British support.

    The Saudis and other Middle Eastern nations have for a very great many years used the unresolved Israel – Palestinian conflict as the excuse for various failures, from instability in the Middle East and growing anti-American sentiment that weighed against America advancing her interests, to modernizing their societies across the board to allow for the growth of freedoms, to enabling Middle Eastern nations to adopt democratic norms since Pres. Bush announced his policy of democratizing the Middle East.

    From all these excuses, the real message was that the reason for both the Middle Eastern failures and most of America’s problems in pursuing her interests in the Middle East were Israel’s fault. The Bush administration has to be astute enough to know that such Arab message is nonsense, but by the same token the Arabs were living that lie and America was going to have to deal with that lie as an Arab truth if she wanted to make headroads in the Middle East.

    To say things for America in Afghanistan and especially in Iraq did not go as planned is an understatement. The worse things got, the more desperate the Bush administration became to force a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, which sees an independent Palestinian state come into existence.

    The Palestinians have nothing to offer for such peace deal but their word, so it was Israel with her tangible territorial assets that America pushed, prodded and pressured to make concessions on.

    Iran since 1979 has been an openly declared enemy against America. Since then Iran has attacked America directly or by her proxies and has inflicted damage and caused American lives to be lost.

    Iran’s star has been rising in the Middle East over the last several years without much if any resistance from the West and America. Becoming increasingly emboldened, Iran began several years ago to more openly declare her enmity towards America and Israel, brashfully proclaiming their nuclear agenda and intentions and threatening to wipe Israel off the map and to attack America.

    Facing stiff resistance at the U.N. to impose any meaningful sanctions against Iran, partly fighting a war in Iraq against Iranian proxies, the Iraqi war effort failing badly and not having a way to bow out gracefully, and with feeling the increasing heat of anti-American feelings in the Middle East, the Bush administration has become increasingly desperate at a last chance to find Bush’s personal and America’s national salvation by bringing about a two state solution peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. That desperation has revealed an increasing irrationality in the efforts of the Bush administration to try to force Israel to make concessions that are suicidal.

    The Bush administration has it appears lost control not only of its own good judgment, but of the parties as America has asked far too much of Israel and by doing so, has encouraged Palestinians to make impossible demands on Israel.

    The prospects for anything of substance to come out of the Annapolis meeting are now virtually gone, but the Bush administration cannot stop itself for it insanely feels that it must be seen to be doing something, rather then throwing their hands up in the air to say they cannot do anything.

    A failure at Annnapolis spells even more bad press and calumny to be heaped on Pres. Bush, but worse still then his approval ratings plunging even further, with Middle East and Palestinian stability even more compromised and jeopardized by an Annapolis failure, both Israel and America will be at even greater risk of harm then they were before.

    The Bush administration was foolish to go down a road in the Middle East that they ought to have forseen could well leave both America and Israel at grave risk. The more warning signs they passed along the way, the more desperate and foolish they became and now their desperation has overwhelmed the Bush administration and they do not know what to do to reverse their’s and America’s fortunes in the Middle East.

  6. Stephens is already behind the curve on Annapolis. The conference will come, it will be attended by the vultures of the Middle East, Europe, Russia, and the US, it will include a joint statement of principles — albeit one that may be penned by the State Department — and it will offer significant and one-sided Israeli concessions which will forever be etched in stone as the starting point for negotiations.

  7. On November 12, 2003 I was living in London. George Bush was about to visit the UK. David Frost — now with Al Jazeera — interviewed Bush for the BBC. This was their exchange on the Middle East:

    Q. And in–one of the reasons that people say, in the Arab world– obviously there was your landmark speech last week–but in the Arab world, that you won’t really be able to address the balance against America until the United States is seen not to tilt towards Israel in the Middle East. What do you think about that?

    The President. I think about that: I think it’s an excuse, because America–I am the first President ever to go to the United Nations—-

    Q. And say, two—-

    The President. Two states side by side in peace.

    Q. —-two states.

    The President. No President has ever said that. And I said it, and I said it with conviction, because I believe it is in Israel’s interest that there be a peaceful Palestinian state, and I know it’s in the Palestinians’ interest. However, to achieve a peaceful Palestinian state, the emergence of a peaceful Palestinian state, a state where people are willing to risk capital, a place where people are willing to develop an economy, there must be a focused effort to defeat terror. And there hasn’t been with the current Palestinian leadership.

    I went in and embraced, in Aqaba, Jordan, Abu Mazen. And the reason I did so, David, is because he came to the Oval Office and he said, “I will join you in the fight against terror. We’re not going to allow the few to destroy the hopes of the many.” As well, I could sense in his talk, in his feeling, that he has–he’s got great trust in the Palestinian people. In other words, given the chance, the Palestinian people will develop the habits of democracy, and out of that will come a great state, a peaceful state. And I trusted him, and we were working with him. We were making good progress. And I was working with Ariel Sharon. I gave a speech on June 24th, 2002, which says, “All of us have responsibilities, and you, Israel, have a responsibility.” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel

    Q. Do you think Ariel Sharon could ever emerge as a man of peace?

    The President. Yes, I do. I believe he wants peace for his people. I truly do. I mean, he’s a man who has presided over suiciders, where he has to go to the funerals of women and children because some cold- blooded killer is trying to destroy the hopes of all the people in the region. And it’s–yes, I believe so. And I believe he believes in a Palestinian state. I’ve asked him in the Oval Office, I said, “Listen, am I out there by myself on a Palestinian state, or will you support it?” He said he will. But both of us understand, as do a lot of other people, that for a state to emerge, there must be a focused effort to get after the Hamas killers, for example, who want to destroy the hopes of the people that believe in a Palestinian state. And there hasn’t been that effort.

    Anyway, let me finish my Abu Mazen story, if you don’t mind. I embraced the guy, and I believe that he is a–I believe he’s a partner with whom we can work, and he’s shoved out. Progress is being made, and he is shoved aside by the old guard. And that’s unacceptable behavior. It’s just unacceptable.

    For those like Bret Stephens and others here at Israpundit who believe that Annapolis is happening because “Rice demands it”, who hold Bush harmless, and who wonder why the US and Israel are arming, financing, and negotiating with Abbas with the expectation — despite all evidence to the contrary — that he is willing and able to implement a peace agreement, the transcript above tells all.

    What cannot be gleaned from the transcript, but what I saw that day in November on BBC television, was the look of steely determination in the eyes of George Bush when he spoke of his goal of a Palestinian state.

    That is what has set Annapolis is motion and what is driving this insane exercise in magical thinking.

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