Disband the Mideast Quartet

(While we’re at it we should abrogate The Roadmap and the Oslo Accords. T. Belman)

by Daniel Mandel, FrontPageMag

The Israeli-Palestinian so-called “peace process” has now ground to a halt, by the common admission of all the parties involved. In the words this week of an anonymous administration adviser, matters are “utterly stuck … there is no pretense of progress.” President Barack Obama’s tortuous, two-year long road to direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that collapsed shortly after the point of commencement only underscores the following: the Israeli/Palestinian issue has proceeded for years on the wrong track.

How did we arrive here? By following a flawed vision: the 2003 “Roadmap” peace plan.

And how will we get out? By, among other things, disbanding the group that devised it – the Middle East Quartet (European Union, Russia, the U.N. and the U.S.).

It is highly unusual for the U.S. to subordinate the formulation of U.S. policy to a multilateral group, let alone one largely composed of a mixed bag of autocracies. Yet, in the wake of 9/11, that is precisely what the Bush administration did.

Why? Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell afforded a clue when he said in May 2002, “How important it was for me to have this unified body of opinion and thought behind me” in working for peace.

In other words, the Bush administration formed the Quartet to insulate itself from blame for diplomatic failure and unilateralism. Perhaps it thought that, by forming the Quartet, it could steer the Europeans to support its policy. In fact, the Quartet has steered the U.S. to support a European policy.

For proof, just compare George W. Bush’s June 2002 peace vision and the April 2003 Roadmap which supplanted it and which we have followed since.

In June 2002, Bush correctly wrote-off Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasser Arafat’s regime as being central to the problem. Its replacement with a regime untainted by terrorism and corruption was, in contrast, part of the solution, one that would be met with Israeli concessions as hostilities ended.

In contrast, the Roadmap – without explanation – reversed the sequence. It ordained swift Israeli moves in response to untested Palestinian reforms.

Instead of a sequence of verifiable reforms leading to a provisional Palestinian state, the Quartet skipped the reforms in favor of a schedule leading to a fully sovereign Palestinian state with provisional borders.

When the Bush administration caved and adopted the Roadmap, it all but assured us that there would be no new Palestinian leadership untainted by terror and corruption.

And so it has proven. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have dealt with, praised, promoted, and — above all — funded the same occasionally reshuffled deck of Mahmoud Abbas and other Arafat/PA loyalists – the same PA that honors terrorists like Dalal Mughrabi. Mughrabi led the Fatah terrorists that carried out the 1978 coastal road massacre in which 37 Israelis, including a dozen children, were murdered.

The Quartet and its Roadmap permit us to ignore this. Indeed, already under Bush, the 2007 Benchmarks scheme was working towards bypassing whatever schedule of Palestinian compliance was required under the Roadmap.

Like a rocket booster, the Roadmap served the purpose of propelling U.S. policy in a certain direction, to be jettisoned thereafter as extraneous baggage.

Last November, the PA received an extra $150 million in direct aid from the Obama administration on top of the $739.9 million it had already received from the U.S. taxpayer in 2010. And, like European aid, there were no strings attached, no benchmarks and no performance standards.

Why? Because the Quartet’s Roadmap aims to establish a Palestinian state, irrespective of what Palestinians say and do.

That may not worry some Europeans, but it is not something the U.S. can support without detriment. The U.S. has enough problems of influence and credibility in a region in which Iran is ascendant without also multiplying its foes and endangering its friends.

The Quartet has done nothing in nearly eight years except to entrench and prolong the conflict by insulating the PA from the consequences of its conduct. But a new Congress can begin to take steps. For a start, it can push for de-funding the PA.

Until now, aid to Israel has been embedded in foreign aid bills. This has insulated foreign aid from broader congressional debate and resulted in a coalition of foreign aid enthusiasts and Israel supporters passing successive bills. However, if at some point the Eric Cantor-Ileana Ros-Lehtinen plan for decoupling military aid to Israel from the overall foreign aid package bears fruit, it will become easier to subject all remaining elements of the package to greater scrutiny on their own merits. Aid to the PA should be an early candidate for such scrutiny.

A unified Quartet policy, like so many multilateral ventures, is politics of the lowest common denominator. It ignores unpleasant realities (no Palestinian consensus for peace or leadership to deliver it), prioritizes means (Palestinian state) over ends (peace), while frustrating the capacity to attain these goals.

European friends, Russian rivals and UN malefactors are unlikely to see matters as the U.S. views them. Neither on the Middle East nor on much else will their views coincide, the more so when Barack Obama leaves office. We should therefore end the charade that, on this, of all issues, a common vision can be achieved by the Quartet. But as that is the fiction for which the Quartet was invented, it would be better if it was disbanded.

January 18, 2011 | 12 Comments »

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12 Comments / 12 Comments

  1. Merkel receives honor from US Jewish group

    Harris has made the AJC totally irrelevant, and American Jews a pitiful joke and laughingstock of every goy in the world.

    If they were just stupid Jews it would be half as bad. They don’t even have a clue,and that puts them all in the imbecilic category.

  2. The Quartet will not disband It’s the Red Dragon of Revelation.

    Yuk! Do I have a revelation just for you? I do but you would ignore it. I used to eat at the Red Dragon Chinese restaurant.

  3. The quartet must be disbanded. We have the power to make it dissolve before our eyes. If we proclaim that self evident truth long enough, Hashem, the one true and almighty cosmic force in the universe, will have it come to pass.

    But that is hardly the only requirement for true peace on earth.

    –all arabs must be evicted from the holy land.
    –all non Jews must likewise leave.
    –all leftist Jews must be excommunicated as Jews and removed from the land.
    — The so-called territories must become part of Israel.
    — The Sinai must be recaptured.
    — Israel doe not need the outside world. Cut off all ties with the Gentile nations. America, the EU, -Who needs them?
    — Work towards an Israel encompassing the borders of biblical times- Now here is where we can utilize our secret Weapon. The A BOMB.

    That is all for now-must get back to the asylum!!!

  4. the Middle East Quartet (European Union, Russia, the U.N. and the U.S.).

    The Quartet will not disband It’s the Red Dragon of Revelation.

  5. Thank you Ted. I not only speak for myself but
    for a multitude of people who are deeply touched by your warm and genuine welcome. It has been a rough going that is for sure.

    …and to yamit82, the truth in what you say boils down to the fact we pretty much stand alone. Israel is but a political pawn to be used and abused.

    When Bush spent millions training Palestinian security forces who before our very eyes marched to the Nazi Goosestep I knew we had been deceived. When Abbas sanctioned a painting which showed all of Israel Palestinian and ZOA called upon the president we put into office to take Abbas to task for it and nothing happened that was the linchpin. Now we see Abbas holding a stone statue which mimics the painting which proves, Abbas can do as he pleases because our ‘friend’
    allowed him to.

    The Embassy Act did not come to fruition because our president cared more to appease those who appease and harbor terror than to Israel. Imagine post 9-11, war on terror when Bush always talked about those who incubate and harbor terror will have no place to hide DID NOT apply to those who waged the bloodiest intifada of all time upon the people of Israel. How stupid we were to believe otherwise. Israel will never ever have an U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and for that I place direct blame right on the door step of President Bush because he promised it. Close to the end Bush failed to send anyone from his administration to the ceremonies for the Anniversary of the Reunification Of Jerusalem. I looked to my friends and much of the
    who I thought to be standing with us stood away because of partisan politics. They are hypocrites all…. and for that while keeping a keen on the horrific mess we now have in Washington and the rest of the world regarding Israel it is not only enemies who set us off track but supposed-friends as well.

  6. Yamit (Uncle), I have to agree with you. Although I like Bush, I wasn’t happy with his relationship with the Saudis.

    Now we have the “Community organizing pamphlet distributing anti-Semite, pretending to be a Christian, embracing Islam, incompetent president who bows to the Saudi princes.

    I said before I don’t trust the fat guys, wearing sun glasses and wearing towels on their heads while they support and finance terrorism.

    If it wasn’t for oil, these fat guys would be roaming the desert on a camel looking for an oasis.

    We, the US need to move to nuclear energy, drill here and off shore and tell the Arabs to shove the oil up their oasis (or ass).

    If the liberals in this country can’t handle it, I am sure the crackpot in Venezuela would welcome them, he just love the guy and gals from Hollywood.

  7. Susan says:

    Susan not only do I agree with you I have stated much the same here more times than I can count. The reaction of nearly all those that commented here reacted as you state others have on conservative blogs. I never liked or trusted Bush and I knew his 2nd term would be a disaster for us.

    I will go one better for you. Those so called Christian lovers of Zion for all their big talk were silent and anemic as well. One might consider that 50 million lovers of Zion loved Zion a lot less than they loved Bush. Talk is cheap.

  8. Imagine the great influence the hierarchy of the Republican party who promised support for Israel could have had when our own president, (who was thought to be the best friend to Israel) post 9-11, war on terror went and formulated of all things in the name of appeasement to of all entities, the EU,UN and Russia,the quartet for peace. (made up of 3 arch enemies of the U.S. mind you) From that moment on Israel has not had a moments peace from that quartet,either. Instead for the most part there was silence by those who vowed love and support. Friends, post 9-11, war on terror was also the bloodiest intifada ever for Israel…yet record billions were flushed down the sink hole of terror in support for Palestinian Statehood while whitewashing the intentions of the Palestinian people, the PA and their leader, a denier of the Shoah.

    Oh yes, the same old story on how Bush shunned Arafat. Well that is just not so. It is known during this time negotiations never ended with the PA and not one decision passed the desk of Arafat. This shunning was simply smoke and mirrors. But anyway, I am astounded how we rip liberal Jews all the time for their blind support of Obama and liberal issues yet those Jews in the hierarchy of the Republican party kept their mouths shut squandering the key influence they could have had. The key influence they should have had.

    Guess what, the State Department gave the go ahead for the PA flag to fly over it’s U.S office and my party (Republicans) are freaking out. Yet, each time President Bush axed the embassy act (to which he promised to sign in his first week of office) he would sign the wavier for the lease on the U.S. office of the PA. NOT A bloody word from my party.

    Most importantly to all of you who vow support and whose heart is Jerusalem please know our president Bush broke his campaign promise to appease the Arab World. That parcel of land to which the U.S embassy could be sitting on now is gone FOREVER for if a friend screws us over, what can we expect from enemies.

    Today there are tens of hundreds of Republicans just like myself getting thrown off conservative blogs because no one wants to hear the truth. We can never vote democrat but we are cautious of voting next time around. Having said that when we as Jews and those who ‘truly’ support us demand a litmus test of support far wider than mere words, there might actually be hope. Until then I see little if any hope on the near horizon.

    We can not go forward until we know where we came from, honestly and truthfully.
    Our ‘good friend’ indeed paved a very rocky road for an ememy like Obama. Yes, Obama is the devil himself yet I can not forgive being lied to by who I thought was truly a friend of Israel.