Bush Counting on Israel to Quash Influence of Islamic MilitantsThere's an email going around that I'm sure a lot of you in the pro-Israel community have gotten (I think I have gotten it three times in the last 24 hours - maybe even four). It's entitled "URGENT: AN APPEAL TO ACT TO SAVE ISRAEL!! Serious new information, please read and act." It carries the name and email address of a lady here in Israel who is a columnist if I'm not mistaken. And it starts out like this:
I have just acquired information of a most alarming nature from the Middle East NewsLine, the most reliable of sources, regarding the situation of the war in the north. Please! spread this information absolutely as widely as possible, especially in the U.S. Send this to everyone you can, put it on your lists and websites. If ever a groundswell of response was necessary, it is now.I've been ignoring this email and I am going to urge all of you to do the same. Don't get me wrong - I think calling the White House to thank President Bush for his support of Israel is a great idea and a fulfillment of the Jewish requirement to recognize those who do good for you. But I don't think "Middle East NewsLine" (whose stories are snippets unless you pay for the privilege of getting the full post) is necessarily "the most reliable of sources." And in this case, I think they're just plain wrong. In fact, one person who sent me the email this morning 'helpfully' added "the 72 hours started 24 hours ago." Well, if that was the case, wouldn't we be hearing some indication that things are winding down? Ehud Olmert spoke to the nation tonight and said that we will fight until the soldiers are freed, rocket attacks against Israel stop and the Lebanese army is deployed along the border. None of those are likely to happen in the next 48-72 hours (okay, the rocket attacks could stop if we keep up our bombing successes). So with Bush in St. Petersburg at the G-8 Summit he's not taking phone calls? Condi Rice keeps telling us to exercise 'restraint' because she's a State Department hack and that's what State Department hacks do. Is anyone listening to her? In sum, I think this email is total and utter nonsense.
The Bush administration is playing a good cop-bad cop routine with Israel. Bush is not taking phone calls from Olmert, but is saying positive things to the press. Sec. of State Rice is the one who is communicating with Israel, and she is putting pressure on Israel not to send in ground forces. The goal is a "ceasefire" in the next 72 hours.
Tonight, I have two more proofs that I am right and they are wrong. The New York Times - no lover of Israel - is reporting that the Bush administration has given 'tacit approval' to Israel to crush Hezbullah. Look what the Times reports that even the State Department hacks are saying:
Talking to reporters here on Sunday evening, R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, acknowledged that the statement [made by the attendees at the G-8 conference CiJ] does not present any specific order for steps to solve the crisis; rather, he said, it presumes that Israel will stand down only after Hezbollah and Hamas stop shelling Israeli towns and release captured soldiers.The first two sentences of that last paragraph are George Bush's Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice talking. The last sentence is ce the State Department hack talking.
In an interview on the ABC News program “This Week,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: “Israel has the right to defend itself. We would expect nothing less.’’ She quickly added that the administration had been “in constant contact with the Israelis to urge restraint, to urge them to think about the consequences of what they’re doing.’’
And then there is this paragraph:
Ms. Rice and other officials repeatedly noted Iran’s support of Hezbollah — the Iranians appear to have supplied many of the rockets that have hit Haifa, other areas of Israel and perhaps an Israeli ship — and some administration officials said they saw this as the moment to damage the link between Iran and Syria and the Hezbollah fighters who appear to operate with impunity in southern Lebanon.I guess those are the officials who are taking Olmert's phone calls :-)
But there's more, and this is what really makes the email I have received several times over the last day or so look silly. There's an article on the Bloomberg wire service, which argues that the United States actually wants Israel to crush the Islamic militant influence in Lebanon as part of its overall war on terror.
The U.S. is banking on Israel achieving in Lebanon what years of diplomacy and conflict have so far failed to do: limit the ability of Syria and Iran to use Islamic radicals to undermine regional stability.
President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have signaled that Israel largely has a free hand in attacking the militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon. They have declined to set limits on Israeli action, and Rice says she won't engage in personal diplomacy until there is a clear path toward ending the extremist threat.
``We have a full understanding with the U.S. about the need to restore calm and stability in the region, and the only way to do it is to neutralize Hezbollah's capabilities,'' Daniel Ayalon, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., said yesterday in a telephone interview.
Rice said any solution to the crisis must include ridding the region of Iranian and Syrian influence.
``If violence ends on the basis of Syria and Iran being able to turn on the key again anytime, we will have achieved very, very little, indeed,'' Rice said at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Russia.
So where's the rush to a cease fire?