Meeting privately with the Baker-Hamilton commission before its report on Iraq was released, George W. Bush did not seem pleased. So when a Republican member said he believed it was imperative to get moving on the stalled Israel-Palestine peace process, a negative response from the president was expected. Instead, he replied: "I do, too."....The intense criticism of the Baker-Hamilton group from neoconservatives stems from that linkage, clearly set out in the report. Commission members feel the urgency of progress on the Israeli front more deeply than is reflected in the formal language. They are not Israel-bashers. One commission member with a long record of support for Israel feels the country's very existence is at stake. He reported to me warnings from experts friendly to Israel that staying on the present track will threaten the Jewish state within 40 years....The day after the Baker-Hamilton report was issued, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel delivered a more robust version of the commission's position in a speech to the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. What makes Hagel unique is his fearlessness in enunciating views other American politicians of both parties keep to themselves.
"In the Middle East, the core of instability and conflict is the underlying Arab-Israeli problem," said Hagel. "Until the United States helps lead a renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace process, there will be no prospect for broader Middle East peace and stability." He went further by warning of a "Judeo-Christian/Muslim split" that "would inflame the world."
Nothing in the report raised hackles in Tel Aviv more than these words: "The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Baker-Hamilton report and Hagel's speech each reiterated the truth that there is no chance whatsoever for essential Israeli-Palestinian peace without American brokerage.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2006/12/israel-with-friends-like-novak-does-tel.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.