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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Too bad she can't be President

The weekend edition of the JPost has an interview with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the ranking Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which makes me wish that this naturalized citizen were eligible to run for the Presidency of the United States. Here's a sample.
Rather than advise Israel, Ros-Lehtinen - who is both the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban elected to Congress - felt more comfortable discussing US policy in the region, which she feels is misguided in certain respects. For instance, she was not impressed that Rice has made 21 trips here over the last three years, many of them in the last year to push forward the Annapolis process.

"I have a warm working relationship with Secretary Rice, and I congratulate her for her leadership role in this process, but I believe that there is so much to be done, and so little time left for this administration, that the time could well be spent better in other areas," she said.

Ros-Lehtinen said that part of the problem was that Israel's "supposed partners for peace are not really there." The US and the international community have tried "very hard to prop up the government of Mahmoud Abbas, and it hasn't gotten us very far," she said, adding that Rice could make "20 more visits" from now until late January and it wouldn't make much difference.

"There is just too little time left to do such a monumental task, no matter how many Annapolis conferences we convene," she said.

As to why the US was pushing ahead anyway, Ros-Lehtinen said both because it was a "worthy mission," and also because "I think the president wants to have a legacy that is not just Iraq, but many other things, many other aspects of international and domestic policy. And, by the way, who does not want Middle East peace, except for the terrorists and the zealots who love blood and want to destroy nonbelievers?"

She came squarely out and said what many both in the government here and in Washington think, but won't articulate: that it is not realistic to think that an Israeli-Palestinian agreement will be hammered out before Bush leaves office in January. "I don't think it is feasible at the moment to broker an agreement and a peace deal," she said.


"I don't know if building the process is enough of a goal to have," Ros-Lehtinen said. "When you get a framework that is good for this set of leaders, it might not work for the next set of leaders."

Asked about Rice's stepped up public criticism of late of Israeli construction in east Jerusalem and some of the settlements, Ros-Lehtinen challenged the theory that the settlement issue was what was holding up peace.

"I just think it's a fabricated issue," she said. "To nitpick about a hamlet of a few houses and say that it is up to Israel to remove those because those are an impediment to peace, I think that gives a free pass to Abbas and Fatah and Hamas and the whole crew." Ros-Lehtinen said that were all the settlements razed to the ground tomorrow, "there would be another issue that Abbas would bring up, or Hamas, because I don't think Israel has a true partner for peace."

Which, she explained, is why this is such a tough nut to crack. But there are other areas that needed attention, and she felt that Rice should be more intensely involved with them - such as Iran.
Read the whole thing. This woman really gets it.


At 8:19 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I agree. So why the Pentagon leaning on Israel not to strike Iran? I really don't get it.

At 7:44 PM, Blogger YITZI said...

Because the USA is all f... up!
Notice lack of an energy policy and the schizoid Iran bit, etc. etc.

The USA needs good leadership and so does Israel. Israel could elect the guy for that job, but I don't think the USA parties are going to nominate the right leader.


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