Sunday, June 28, 2009

American Pressure on Israel can Cost Lives

I'm having a second look at Elliot Abram's article "Hillary is Wrong".

There is nothing in it that we didn't already know, of course, yet let's look at this section:
In June 2003, Mr. Sharon stood alongside Mr. Bush, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas at Aqaba, Jordan, and endorsed Palestinian statehood publicly: "It is in Israel's interest not to govern the Palestinians but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state. A democratic Palestinian state fully at peace with Israel will promote the long-term security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state." At the end of that year he announced his intention to pull out of the Gaza Strip.
The U.S. government supported all this, but asked Mr. Sharon for two more things. First, that he remove some West Bank settlements; we wanted Israel to show that removing them was not impossible. Second, we wanted him to pull out of Gaza totally -- including every single settlement and the "Philadelphi Strip" separating Gaza from Egypt, even though holding on to this strip would have prevented the smuggling of weapons to Hamas that was feared and has now come to pass. Mr. Sharon agreed on both counts.
These decisions were political dynamite, as Mr. Sharon had long predicted to us.
Noteworthy points:

1. Sharon, like Barak before him, publicly accepted Palestinian statehood, but this made it no more likely to happen.

2. The Bush administration (Bush!) pressured Israel to go beyond what it intended, and Israel complied. This made Palestinian statehood no more likely than before, since the fundamental Palestinian demands are incompatible with Zionism, and therefore won't happen.

3. The Bush administration forced Israel to take severe risks, namely leaving the strip of territory along the Gaza-Egyptian border. The idea was that only by totally leaving Gaza could Israel claim it had really left, and this was regarded as neccessary for the rise of a functioning Palestinian quasi-state in Gaza. The hope was that the Palestinians would indeed take advantage of the opportunity, and it would be possible to build on it. The danger was that the Palestinians would not try to get their act together and would prefer to continue waging war against Israeli civilians.

4. After the Bush administration forced Israel to take the risk, and the calculation misfired, there was no cost to the Americans. Israelis died, and lots of Palestinians, but no Americans. On the contrary: the Americans held an election, replaced their administration, and the new one is repeating the mistakes of its predecessor.


Anonymous said...

asking the Palestinians for concessions and standing up for Israel there is no Nobel-Peace-Price or any other worldwide acclaim to be had - and as to reporting just read the beginning of this piece and ask yourself where more excitement is to be had - going to clandestine meetings with thugs or reporting on law abiding state organs - pro-Israel is for people who like it sober and sadly there aren't too many around
rgds, Silke

PS: and if you want it really disgusting read this by a successful author and acclaimed helper of Africans

Dimitry Papkov said...

You forgot to add
5. The new admin now claims this agreement didn't happen, which makes it all the more unlikely for an Israeli politician to rely on any international assurances, even if they come from US.

mrzee said...

What Abrams didn't mention is that while Sharon was standing alongside President Bush, Chairman Abbas and King Abdullah in Aqaba, there were American, Jordanian and Palestinian flags in the background. They couldn't erect an Israeli flag because it was considered "too provocative". In a country which has a peace treaty with Israel.

Anyone who claims "settlements" are the problem either knows nothing about the Israel-Arab conflict or is a liar.

BTW Dimitry, the US backing out of committments to Israel is nothing new. It goes back to at least the days of Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon

Dimitry Papkov said...

I know. They just didn't claim before the agreement didn't exist