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Thursday, September 21, 2006

DEBKAfile: US downgrading strategic relationship with Israel

If this report turns out to be correct, this is really bad news.

DEBKAfile is reporting that the downside of the US policy shift in support of a 'Palestinian unity' government is the downgrading of President Bush’s strategic relations with the Olmert government. This is apparently yet another consequence of the disasterous handling of the Lebanon war by the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government. As you read this, think back to Philip Zelikow's talk at the end of last week. It now sounds like Mr. Zelikow knew what he was talking about after all.

Hat Tip: Stemir
DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that the Middle East Quartet’s support for a Palestinian unity government is just the first step in a new, not fully-consolidated Bush administration initiative on the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. The steps to come will exact from Israel the full price for losing ground in the Lebanon War.

Nonetheless, the three war leaders, prime minister Ehud Olmert, defense minister Amir Peretz and chief of staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, continue to evade the sorry consequences of that war and play down the resulting rift with the Bush administration. Indeed the trio shouts down voices calling for an accounting and declares no one can better correct their mistakes and prepare the army and country for another conflict.

In contrast, Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah is paying for his blunders. Iran has confined his duties to domestic politics and public appearances in which he excels, no longer empowering him to decide when to fire rockets into northern Israel, order deep cross-border incursions or abduct Israeli soldiers.

...

On Sept 13, Bush looked in on a discussion between visiting foreign minister Tzipi LIvni and his National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on the Lebanon and Palestinian issues and the Iranian nuclear threat.

He exchanged a few words with her for the clear purpose of sizing his visitor up.

Jerusalem is playing down that seemingly casual encounter like the many symptoms of the widening breach with Washington for the following reasons:

1. The cracks were evident in the course of the 33-day Lebanon War when the US president never once conversed with the PM Olmert.

2. The impression the US president gained of Livni at the White House did not change his mind about not doing business with the Olmert government or persuade him she was of a different caliber.

3. Washington is not blind to the low esteem in which the Israeli public holds the prime minister, his team and his party. One of the opinion polls published Thursday, Sept. 21, on the eve of the New Year festival, gives Olmert an approval rating of 7%! Yet he continues to declare that no one is better qualified to lead the country.

This gap in the Israel government’s credibility at home and abroad convinced Bush to launch a new Middle East initiative headed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice without conferring first with Jerusalem. The Quartet’s announcement at UN Headquarters caught Livni by surprise Wednesday, Sept. 20, the day of her address to the General Assembly.

...

This announcement not only opens the way for international recognition of a Palestinian government led by Hamas, but is also the first step towards engaging that government in peacemaking, without requiring Hamas to recognize Israel’s existence or forego terrorism.
Olmert and his gang must go. Now. Forget for a minute whether or not DEBKA is right about the 'downgrading' in relations. Look at the consequences of the 'quartet' ending Hamas' isolation. This is from the JPost article on the announcement linked above:
Israeli diplomats were surprised by the US's support for a Hamas-Fatah government and senior sources in Jerusalem said there would be no change in Israel's stance, namely, that it would not recognize Hamas nor any organization of which Hamas was a member.

Former foreign minister Silvan Shalom called the move a "political collapse," adding that it was a grave decision which was made behind Israel's back and that it amounted to the end of the isolation of Hamas.

Earlier Wednesday, in his first meeting with Abbas since Hamas came to power, US President George W. Bush praised the Palestinian leader, calling him "a man of peace." In the meeting, which was held in New York, Bush repeated his commitment to promote a two-state solution and lead to an independent Palestinian state, making clear that he sees Abbas as a partner for this mission.

"I fully understand that in order to achieve this vision, there must be leaders willing to speak out and act on behalf of people who yearn for peace, and you are such a leader, Mr. President," Bush said, while standing next to Abbas at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. "I can't thank you enough for the courage you have shown."
And for those of you who think Congress is going to protect us if Bush decides to abandon Israel, keep in mind that after November he is a lame duck. He can do whatever he wants. He doesn't have to stand for re-election and he will not be leading the party in 2008. Time to get a government with which the US feels it can work. There's not a moment to delay.

13 Comments:

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Bob Miller said...

There are indications that our nemesis James Baker has become reinvolved in US foreign policy. The policy you are describing is consistent with his approach.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Bob,

What indications? Can you point me to something (other than the fact that Condi Rice is his protege)? I don't doubt you're right - I'd just like to see the evidence. Thanks.

 
At 3:40 PM, Blogger Kranky (in the civilized world) said...

Hi Carl:

What Bob said is what I was about to mention. Mr Baker is an avowed anti-semite in deed if not in word. He has a hatred of Israel and jews about as deep as his love of arabs, and their oil.

Mr Bush has engaged him again. Which means a return to the times of old. Not good times, just old ones.

Olmert and team have to go. Now. Not in 3-6 months. Now. A nice will of the people demonstration demanding the government step down immediately would be a great first step. Get a million people out for it. Do it peacefully. Have the population stage the coup.

Ehud Olmert is doing his absolute best to destroy what it took thousands of years to create. Israelis and jews the world over cannot allow him to continue.

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Kranky,

I know all about James "F**k the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway" Baker. But how has Bush re-engaged him? I didn't think Baker had played any role in the administration since he was Bush's lawyer in the aftermath of the 2000 election. What role is he playing now? And since when?

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Kranky (in the civilized world) said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Kranky,

I think you put the wrong link in.

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger Kranky (in the civilized world) said...

Ooops.... too many open windows.

Delete that comment, here is the right link. link

http://www.insightmag.com/Media/MediaManager/Baker.htm

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger Bubbi said...

You might find this article interesting Carl, regarding Baker.
http://www.antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=9721

 
At 6:04 PM, Blogger Bob Miller said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6:15 PM, Blogger Bob Miller said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I got a hattip!

Thank you Carl.

 
At 5:37 PM, Blogger Bob Miller said...

See these other links:

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/nation/4196615

http://www.tnr.com/blog/theplank?pid=39370

 
At 5:38 PM, Blogger Bob Miller said...

Note that the first link above actually ends:

nation/4196615

 

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