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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Digesting Rudy's stance on Israel

In the New York Sun, Eli Lake provides an excellent analysis of former New York Mayor and Republican Presidential frontrunner Rudy Giuliani's stance on Israel:

In some of the boldest language on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict used thus far by any presidential candidate, Mr. Giuliani writes: "Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel."

That language appears to be a direct shot at President Bush and Secretary of State Rice, who are making just such a push for final status negotiations between President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert in September, despite Hamas's takeover of Gaza in June.

The former mayor's vision for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is also a repudiation of the approach of the Baker-Hamilton Commission, a panel on which Mr. Giuliani served briefly. In its final recommendations on Iraq policy in December 2006, the commission urged America not only to re-engage in the peace process, but also to explore ways for Israel to cede the Golan Heights to Syria.

Mr. Giuliani's senior foreign policy adviser, Charles Hill, said yesterday that the Bush administration's current push to forge a peace deal between the Palestinian Authority president and the Israeli prime minister may be "risking too much."

"It looks as though they are trying to get right at the most difficult issues right away and go to the road map," Mr. Hill said in a telephone interview from his office at Yale University, where he lectures on international studies. "It has a Palestinian state coming into being before the negotiations are completed. That is risking too much. We do not want another failure -- another failure and a terrorist haven."

Mr. Giuliani is not opposed in principle to a Palestinian state or two-state solution, Mr. Hill said. But he added: "We have one more part of the region given over to terrorism. It is not that we are opposed to an outcome there, but to go to final status talks without seeing the Palestinian political and security process earn its way, at least minimally, in a responsible way, it doesn't make any sense."

Mr. Giuliani's emphasis on creating free institutions in non-democratic states before elections mirrors that of a former Soviet dissident and Israeli legislator, Natan Sharansky. Mr. Sharansky was one of the few Israelis to criticize both the Oslo process in the 1990s, for empowering the late Yasser Arafat, and the Bush administration's approach after 2002, for emphasizing the elections that ultimately led to the empowerment of Hamas.


While Mr. Giuliani's reluctance to support elections before building strong courts and transparent ministries may seem to put him closer to some of his Democratic rivals for the White House, he differs from them in his expectations for the United Nations. He writes in Foreign Affairs that America should seek to strengthen the "international system," by which he means multilateral and regional organizations, as a front line defense against terrorism. But he cautions that America should have "realistic" expectations about the efficacy of the United Nations. "The organization can be useful for some humanitarian and peacekeeping functions, but we should not expect much more of it," he writes. In the resolution of conflicts, the United Nations has proved itself "irrelevant," he writes, and the institution has failed to combat terrorism or human rights abuses.

Mr. Hill expanded on this theme yesterday, saying a Giuliani administration would seek to reform the United Nations but that it would not be a veto on American action. "The U.N. is going to have to shape itself up or else other ways will have to be found," he said. "That can be unilaterally, bilaterally, with other entities that may come into being."
Giuliani's stance is wonderful and I hope that it will be sufficient to convince some of our knee-jerk liberal Jews to support a Republican candidate (yes, I realize that is unlikely).

The question I would ask is whether and how Giuliani can prevent Ehud K. Olmert from giving away the store in order to pander to the Israeli left to preserve Olmert's position in power.


At 9:45 AM, Blogger HEADJANITOR said...

"The question I would ask is whether and how Giuliani can prevent Ehud K. Olmert from giving away the store in order to pander to the Israeli left to preserve Olmert's position in power."

STRONG, MORAL leadership in the Whitehouse (fat chance of that!) could--indeed, would--kowtow the Israel 'Left', in favor of strong, moral leadership in Israel itself.

Giuliani's almost-good speech in fact reveals his willingness to compromise on vitally important issues, i.e.: 1) he accepts a 'two state solution'; and,2) he would "strengthen" international institutions (as opposed to dismantling them).

He's a politician, not a statesman.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Giuliani has just backtracked from the trendy ISG, political horizons, and unilateral concessions talk popular these days to reiterating The Road Map position, something that has already failed. He needs to take the next step and admit Road Map failure and suggest an alternative in light of it. He's still not thinking outside of the CFR land-for-peace box, but then he does need CFR support, no?


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