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Monday, December 18, 2006

Israel - With friends like Novak, does the "Tel Aviv" government need enemies ??

To judge from Robert Novak's Washington Post column, The Israel Quandary, a new US peace initiative in the Middle East is just around the corner, it is, according to Novak, a prospect abhorrent to the Israel government, and it is being advocated by friends of Israel and by supposedly pro-Israel Republicans, including George Bush.
Those American supporters of Israel who thought that there was ever or would be or could be an alliance between Republicanism and Zionism that went beyond temporary convenience, might have to think again.
Writes Novak:
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."
Chuck Hagel, like Mr. Novak, apparently never heard of the Hamas, who refuse to make peace with Israel. OK, let's say we want to make peace. With whom can we make peace? Chuck Hagel, like Mr. Novak, didn't hear about Ehud Olmert's speech last month, in which he called for a new round of peace negotiations. Mr. Novak wrote:
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.
If Novak doesn't even know that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, what sort of commentary can he make? Seriously, if he doesn't understand that writing about the "Tel Aviv government" went out of style with the USSR collapsed, except in places like Syria, then Mr. Novak should not masquerade as a friend of Israel.
But Novak didn't read the ISG report either it seems. He tells us:
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.
The Baker-Hamilton report did not say that, though it might be true. What is certain is that there is no chance whatsoever that the US can play a useful role in facilitating Arab-Israeli peace if the US fails in Iraq and loses its status as a power in the Middle East.
Ami Isseroff

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