US has never been so hostile to Israel

Column One: American folly

Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST Nov. 22, 2007

The mood is dark in the IDF’s General Staff ahead of next week’s “peace” conference in Annapolis. As one senior officer directly involved in the negotiations with the Palestinians and the Americans said,

    “As bad as it might look from the outside, the truth is 10 times worse. This is a nightmare. The Americans have never been so hostile.”

On Thursday a draft of the joint statement that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are discussing ahead of the conference was leaked to the media. A reading of the document bears out the IDF’s concerns.

The draft document shows that the Palestinians and the Israelis differ not only on every issue, but differ on the purpose of the document. It also shows that the US firmly backs the Palestinians against Israel.

As the draft document makes clear, Israel is trying to avoid committing itself to anything at Annapolis. For their part, the Palestinians are trying to force Israel’s hand by tying it to diplomatic formulas that presuppose an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines and an Israeli acceptance of the so-called “right of return” or free immigration of foreign Arabs to Israel.

The Palestinians are also trying to take away Israel’s right to determine for itself whether to trust the Palestinians and continue making diplomatic and security concessions or not by making it the responsibility of outside parties to decide the pace of the concessions and whether or not the Palestinians should be trusted.

As the leaked draft document shows, the Americans have sided with the Palestinians against Israel. Specifically, the Americans have taken for themselves the sole right to judge whether or not the Palestinians and the Israelis are abiding by their commitments and whether and at what pace the negotiations will proceed.

But the Americans have shown themselves to be unworthy of Israel’s trust. By refusing to acknowledge Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party’s direct involvement in terrorism and indeed the direct involvement of his official Fatah “security forces” in terrorism, the Americans have shown that their benchmarks for Palestinian compliance with their commitments to Israel are not necessarily based on the reality on the ground. Then too, the US demands for wide-ranging Israeli security concessions to the Palestinians even before the “peace” conference at Annapolis have shown that Israel’s security is of little concern to the State Department.

IDF sources blame the shooting murder of Ido Zoldan on Monday night by Fatah terrorists on Israel’s decision to bow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s demand to take down 24 security roadblocks in Judea and Samaria. If it hadn’t been for US pressure, they say, it is quite possible that the 29-year-old father of two small children would be alive today.

But this is of no concern for Washington. As Rice has made clear repeatedly, the US wants to see “signs of progress.” Since the Palestinians are taking no action against terror and doing nothing to lessen their society’s jihadist fervor, the only way to achieve “signs of progress” is by forcing Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians. And so that is exactly what Rice and her associates are doing.

Rice is able to force Israel to accept her demands because she faces the weakest Israeli leaders the country has ever produced. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are all incapable of standing up to the Americans or even arguing with them. Olmert’s and Livni’s weakness has been apparent since their mishandling of the war with Hizbullah last summer and their negotiations over the cease-ire agreement with Rice. For his part, throughout his brief and disastrous tenure as prime minister, Barak behaved as though he were then president Bill Clinton’s employee.

BUT IF Olmert’s, Livni’s and Barak’s willingness to compromise their nation’s security is a function of their weakness, what explains Rice’s and Bush’s behavior? Why are they weakening Israel and pushing for the establishment of yet another Middle Eastern terror state? What US interest do they think they are advancing by acting as they are? Over the past several weeks, a number of theories have been raised to explain their behavior. The most frequent explanation is that Rice and Bush are championing Palestinian statehood at Israel’s expense in a bid to mobilize a coalition of Sunni Arab states to cooperate with the US against Iran.

According to this theory, if Annapolis is seen as a success, then the Arab states will be convinced that the US is worth supporting on Iran. This theory has several flaws. First, as the US’s treatment of Israel makes clear, success in Annapolis involves weakening Israel whose destruction Iran seeks and empowering the Palestinians whom Iran supports. This means that far from weakening Iran, success at Annapolis advances Iran’s interests.

But beyond that, whether wittingly or unwittingly, by convening the conference next week, the Bush administration has directly empowered Iran. Today the determination of whether the administration emerges unscathed or humiliated from Annapolis is entirely in Iran’s hands. Iran will decide whether the conference opens and closes peacefully or whether it is convened as Lebanon is submerged in civil war by Iran’s proxies Syria and Hizbullah.

According to the Lebanese constitution, Saturday is the last day on which a new Lebanese president can be elected. Lebanon’s president must be elected by two-thirds of the members of Lebanon’s parliament. Through their campaign of assassination, Syria and Hizbullah have taken away the two-thirds majority that anti-Syrian forces won in the 2005 elections. As a result, Hizbullah has veto power over the election. And so far, Iran and Syria have refused to allow Hizbullah to back any candidate. This is the case despite the anti-Syrian majority’s willingness to support a pro-Syrian presidential candidate.

Due to the Iranian-Syrian induced impasse, today there are two possible scenarios for what may happen in the next few days in Lebanon. Either Iran and Syria will allow elections to take place and an agent of their regimes and Hizbullah will take over the presidency, or elections will not take place and two governments – one anti-Syrian under Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and one pro-Syrian – will be formed. The pro-Syrian government will be supported by Hizbullah and the Lebanese army. The anti-Syrian government will be supported by Christian, Sunni and Druse militias. A civil war will ensue. Syria, Hizbullah and Iran will win.

In a bid to induce the first scenario, Bush has been lobbying every leader he can think of to appeal to Teheran and Damascus to relent and allow elections to go through. To this end, he even asked their primary arms supplier Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene. Olmert’s decision to allow Fatah security forces to receive 25 advanced Russian armored personnel carriers in spite of IDF objections was no doubt a consequence of Bush’s appeal to Putin for help.

If the Americans believe the key to countering Iran is to build an anti-Iranian Arab coalition, the crisis in Lebanon shows just how futile their efforts are. Just as the Sunni Arab states oppose Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, so they oppose Iranian control over Lebanon. Yet in spite of this, they have done nothing to prevent Iran and its proxies from taking control of the country. To the contrary, the Saudis have encouraged the Siniora government to support pro-Syrian candidates for the presidency.

So if the administration has decided to embrace the Palestinians as a means of weakening Iran, its decision is wrong on three counts. First, given Iran’s support for the Palestinians, empowering them against Israel simply advances Iran’s interest. Second, the Annapolis conference has become a hostage of Iranian goodwill which is non-existent. And finally, even if it were formed, an anti-Iranian Arab coalition would be powerless to check Iran’s power.

EVEN THOUGH the summit at Annapolis weakens the US’s position vis-à-vis Iran, it might still make sense for Bush and Rice to support Palestinian statehood if doing so enhanced public support for the administration. But the opposite is occurring. Bush’s and Rice’s seeming obsession with Palestinian statehood is being criticized from all sides of the aisle.

Critics on the left like New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and former Clinton negotiator and Palestinian apologist Robert Malley have expressed mystification at the administration’s insistent advance of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians when there is no chance that those negotiations will bring peace. So too, over the past few weeks, four Republican presidential candidates – Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Fred Thompson – have criticized Bush’s and Rice’s Palestinian policies generally and the convening of the conference at Annapolis in particular.

There is also the theory that the pair’s primary concern in pushing for Palestinian statehood is their legacies. Rice’s stated intention of seeing a Palestinian state declared before Bush leaves office lends weight to this view. But of course, given that the maximum that Israel is willing to concede to the Palestinians is less than the minimum that the Palestinians are willing to accept, and given that the Olmert government will be brought down if Olmert agrees to any major concessions, it is clear that there is no chance that Rice will succeed.

Finally there is the thought that Rice and Bush understand that there is no chance of achieving peace, but that they think that their legacies will be strengthened just for having tried. After all, Bill Clinton is remembered well for his attempts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians in spite of the fact that his attempts brought war rather than peace. But Clinton’s example is no longer applicable because the conditions under which Clinton pursued peace were far different than those that exist today.

Clinton’s peace policies caused a war that began only at the end of his presidency. Until then, they seemed like relatively safe and cost-free moves. On the other hand, Bush’s presidency has occurred in its entirety against the backdrop of the Palestinian jihad. Every attempt he has made at peacemaking, from the Tenet Plan through the road map and Sharm e-Sheikh and onto Annapolis, has been blown apart through violence before it could get off the ground.

So then there is no good excuse for the Bush administration’s decision to embrace the Palestinians at Israel’s expense. It all comes down to Bush and Rice not thinking through the consequences of their moves.

It is a singular tragedy that Israel’s elected leaders are too weak to make them understand that by harming Israel, they are harming the United States and making fools of themselves.

November 23, 2007 | 10 Comments »

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9 Comments / 10 Comments

  1. Living on the edge of the vulcano seems to be the fate of Israel, but to find herself being pushed over by the “best friend” is just too much to bear. Nevertheless, Israel is not without any chips in this game. This is the time to change the deck, get new horses, even in mid-sream, be stubborn and refuse to move forward.
    Her “peace partners” require Israel to make “painful concessions.” Why has Israel become so tongue-tied in response? Enough of Olmert’s embarrassing photo-ops of cuddling with Abbas.
    Enough of “confidence building” by making the Jewish population more vulnerable. Enough of “goodwill gestures” of releasing murderers to kill again and again…
    Now is the time to say nyet! Nyet to the Arabs and nyet to the Americans. Without the kike’s cooperation in the pogrom against him, there’ll be no pogrom.
    Besides, remember, Israel’s enemies have many enemies. Let’s make those our friends. Israel’s bag of tricks is not empty by any means.
    But, first Israel must dump into the dust-bin of history its government of the venal and the villainous and replace those with courageous patriots.
    “If not now, when?”

  2. Bill excellent analysis. Is the glass half full or half empty. By moving for the creation of Palestine was Bush acting to destroy Israel or to save it. By going back to the greenline are we saving Israel or destroying Israel.

    If King Feisal days to bush give me al Quds (Jerusalem) or I will raise the price of oil to $200 or sell all our US debt as Isseroff suggests, what is Bush going to do? Pay with other peoples money, of course. Maybe Bush is acting in Israel’s best interest by trying to secure its downfall at the greenline. After all. partition and a one-state solution are just around the corner.

  3. In spite of Glick’s customary crystal clear analysis, this time I think she has it wrong to seize upon two alternate motives for the Bush administration’s big push for the Annapolis meeting and the heavy handed pressure tactics America is inflicting on Israel.

    It is very likely a mix of both those motives, but what is forgotten is that while Pres. Bush is the first American President to speak of the creation of an independent Palestinian state as the peace solution end game, former Presidents since the 1960’s have been guiding American policy towards that same goal, though not stating it as such.

    In fact, the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution speaks of dividing the Palestinian mandatory land into two states. One was created and the coming into existence of another has been, shall we say delayed.

    So what motivated the U.N. to carve up Palestinian mandatory land even further after most was already given to Jordan in the early 1920’s.

    The West has seen itself bound by oil to the Arab nations and as it made good political sense to try to find a solution back than that did not anger the Arab nations too much. That of course was wishful thinking for the West already knew it did not take much at all to upset the Arab nations, especially when it came to the Jews and especially when it came to giving Jews a state of their own in the region.

    The West’s dependence on oil has grown even further and so too the tensions and problems inherent in such a relationship where the West tries to stand by its decision at having allowed for the creation of the state of Israel and Arab hatred of Israel continues unabated as does Arab anger with any Western oil dependent nation giving any support to Israel.

    It appears that American dependence now, not only on oil, but being so desperately needful of some Arab support to allow America to extricate herself from Iraq and as well stand up to Iran, has led to American support for Israel wavering as it has never done before.

  4. Shalom J Posts,

    A highly technical point;

    Re: “US has a vested interest in getting the price of oil lowered…”;

    Outside of the industry, this is OK. In specific terms, the US seeks a HIGHER price of oil because the COST decreases. This is because there are 2 items being traded and 2 costs, the oil and the US dolar bill (the petrodollar).

    OPEC Vienna no longer solely controls oil pricing. The US and ally UK does – via the financial and commodities markets.

    …………………..

    Shalom all,

    Thee is a popular view that the oil industry has a history of only token Jewish participation. This is not correct although I don’t want to say Jews had the multiple opportunities and deals common to the gentiles.

    Post WWII, perhaps the lead industry voice in the West was Walter Levy. At the height of the oil industry post WWII, the world’s largest independent oil tanker fleet was Jewish owned. (Bruce Rappaport of Geneva, Switzerland). One of the most skilled independent oil companies was Occidental Oil Corp, owned by Armand Hammer, Jewish per Halacha; actually he was a classical “red diaper baby”.

    Jews can be found in every industry in every corner of the world.

    Kol tuv,

  5. Recall the nice cop/rough cop scene.
    (Think lightbulb overhead; wooden chair)

    Why are IDF officers DIRECTLY talking to the Arabs? Is there a public name in GOI Diplomatic Corps who is the best negotator with the Arabs? Who is GOI’s best for dealing with allies? With neutrals? Who runs the press and public affairs events for GOI ?

    Please face the truth. It’s worse than 10 times worse.

    IT’S THE OPPOSITE ! Israel is commiting by participation at Annapolis. This is not a bleak situation. Some do not support a Jewish Israel. The city of Jerusalem is only a substitute because some can’t get elected in Marina Del Ray, California.

    Of course Gamla is planned to be ceded. It extends all the way down to south east Galilee. This was evident when Pat Robertson was refused his permits to build a Bible Theme Park.

    GOI also refuses to acknowledge Fatah direct involvment in terorism.

    Re Israel’s “elected” leaders;

    It’s more an approximation of an American public corporation with their executive compensation committee than Peres getting “elected”.

    There is only a year until the US elections and the American political equivilant of “phone sex”, ie making complaint phone calls to journalists, won’t work.

    Look how the American Christians are realigning their OOBs! The Episcopalians, the Baptists, the Catholics – all are reconfiguring.

    We are waiting for a Messiah.

    Time to continue planting the tree and watering it for growth.

    We’ve got a strong history waiting for the last minute.

    Kol tuv,

  6. The US Republicans are looking for violence reductions in Iraq to show the US population that progress is being made. This process is all about Iraq and the next election. If the GOP can deliver peace and a fast track to a Palestinian state, the Iranians might (and I don’t necessarily agree with the logic my own scenario) reduce violence in Iraq and the Saudis might do the same, preventing the bearded fanatical bandits from crossing the border into Iraq to kill American soldiers. This will give a faster possible exit strategy which will allow the US to focus on the failing economy of the US due to excessive borrowing and a diminution of power in the world.

    Israel is a willing victim in this process and has everything to lose and nothing to gain. The best case scenario is that the Lebanese will erupt in civil war while talks are taking place and the Pals will do the same with Hamas likely coming out on top once again. Abbas does not even control his own people and so he is a stooge with no power, propped up by the Israelis and the US. He represents and mirage and a figment of the imagination and a convenient figure head and symbol for the US to ground their slippery strategy.

    I predict that this conference has two possible outcomes: Olmert will cave and offer the Pals a country of their own with nothing given in return for self-immolation except for the usual lies that lead to more jihad and hudna. The second outcome is that Olmert will get very tough and remind the world that the Arab nations and all Muslim nations must come to terms with Israel by giving the Palestinians hope and opportunity in their own rich countries – this will lead to war and Israel ought to flex their military might and warn the Arabs at this conference that war is also on the table if they do not comply with Israeli demands for normal relations with its neighbors.

    The USA will respect strength and determination more than the obsequious behavior and restraint that we have witnessed in the past few years.

  7. What would happen if the Jews in the US suddenly decided to make aliyah to Israel, taking their fortunes and their talents with them? This could happen if Jews here and around the world are put in such instense pressure by this Arabist government. This situation is similar to the days of the KKK, where Jews were regarded as subhuman by many people. Would Congress rise up and defend Jews and Israelis beyond lip service?

    If the meeting that Rice and Bush are promoting with so many Moslem followers that they are supporting, turns against us, this could and, in my opinion, would convince many to do just that, to move their families to Israel. We may, also, believe that all of these countries would attack Israel so as to completely destroy us. Should any or all of this occur, might we rather fight to the death than become dhimmis? If so, I would definitely go to Israel, strap on weapons and fight to the death.

  8. Israel is definitely on the altar. That’s been apparent to me since 2002. That said, there is an interesting and possible scenario congealing here:

    If higher oil prices were the objective of the Bush Administration, the way to facilitate it would be further conflagration in the Middle East. Of course, $150-$200/barrel oil will also be the straw that breaks the camel’s back (pun intended) and sink America into a deep recession — which cannot be good for Bush’s legacy or his party’s future electability.

    On the other hand, a failed peace conference which triggers war between Israel, Syria and Iran (which might not be able to resist the temptation to attack an Israel with her hands full on other fronts) would also provide Bush — ostensibly to defend Israel — with a free pass to bomb Iran, set her nuclear program back, and facilitate regime change. Congress and the majority of Americans would almost certainly go along with this and when the dust clears, the Daily Kos, Walt and Mearsheimer will blame Israel and the Jewish lobby for dragging the US into another war but Hamas, Syria, and the Mullahs will be out of business. As a bonus (for Bush), the stage would be set for a Hamas-free Palestinian state.

    Israel may be more than a sacrificial lamb in this play; she could be the bait on the line that swallows the bass.

    Btw, I’m not suggesting that Bush has masterminded the above scenario but God works in mysterious ways and sometimes through the hands of dullards.

  9. The US has a vested interest in getting the price of oil lowered. In this case, it will be in their interest to sacrifice Israel on the altar of the oil sheikhs.

    The profits of the Carlyle Group and Chevron are far more important to Bush, Baker & Rice than either Israel or America.

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