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Sunday, November 21, 2010

A bad deal for Israel

Former American ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer has some misgivings about the 'settlement freeze' extension deal that ought to make Israel think twice.
The list of problems is so long that it would not be surprising if the administration were already experiencing buyer's remorse. But the arrangement has an even more serious long-term implication, one that should worry Israel profoundly.

If it goes through, this deal will shake the foundation of the U.S.-Israeli strategic partnership. Since the early 1980s, the two countries have cooperated closely on assessing Israeli security, and Washington has promised to ensure Israel's "qualitative military edge" over any combination of potential Arab adversaries.

This commitment has been insulated from the vicissitudes of politics and diplomacy. Whatever the state of U.S.-Israeli relations or the peace process, America's commitment to Israel's security has been manifest. Not so, if this deal materializes. By subjecting Israel's defense needs to the political demands of an American administration, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has done something quite dangerous for Israel - he has made those needs contingent, negotiable, optional. Israel's security requirements are now merely a bargaining chip with which to negotiate what Jerusalem will or will not do to advance the peace process.

Today, the United States has "purchased" a short-term settlements freeze; what will be for sale tomorrow? For that matter, how seriously should our defense planners and congressional budget watchers take Israel's arguments about its security needs when it is prepared to market different elements of its policy for another squadron of advanced aircraft? Does anyone really believe that there is a substantive connection between a three-month settlement freeze and Israel's professed need for more airplanes?
I agree. Forget the 'settlement freeze' extension. Either the 'Palestinians' come back to the table without preconditions or they don't. If they want to blow another opportunity for a 'state,' it's their loss.

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At 12:27 AM, Blogger יונתן said...

What's with the "Israel's bad behavior"? This coming from a supposedly "Orthodox" Jew? "One of Baker's Jew-boys" is spot on.

At 3:08 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Agreed. The only legitimate reason for doing the freeze is to secure Jonathan Pollard's release. All the other arguments for it are bogus and most of the Israeli Cabinet, thankfully, isn't buying them.

Israel should walk away from it now.


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