spacer.png, 0 kB
Home arrow Columnists arrow Archives arrow Is the U.S. Backing the Wrong Leader/s Again?
spacer.png, 0 kB
spacer.png, 0 kB
 
Is the U.S. Backing the Wrong Leader/s Again? Print E-mail

By Jay Bushinsky
January 10, 2008

Even the bravest mountain climber would back away from a volcano that could erupt at any moment. But the same cannot be said in political or diplomatic terms for President Bush or his unpopular Israeli protege, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Before setting out on his inherently risky trip to the Middle East, the President let it be known that he wants the Israelis and Palestinians to upgrade their peace talks by including the core issues on their agenda.  The word for core, in Hebrew is "liba" and it usually refers to the mouth of a seething volcano.

The "liba" (pronounced 'leeba' with the accent on the second syllable) into which Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly would be asked to plunge, were the future status of Jerusalem (whether its Arab districts should be put under Palestinian control), the plight of the Arab refugees from the 1948-49 war (when the Palestinian Jews fought for their UN-sanctioned state against six Arab states and the local Arabs during after which 60 per cent of the local Arabs fled) and the borders of the newly-re-projected Palestinian Arab state...all this by the end of the President's second term in office!

These issues have been unresolved for the past 60 years in the latter two cases and for the past 40 years in the first one, but the President and Prime Minister presumably agreed that compromises on each could be achieved within the next 12 months.  That notion is as unwise as is dipping one's feet into the shallowest ripple of an active volcano's lava.  Its implementation would stir up baseless expectations on the Palestinian side and unwarranted dissension on the Israeli side.

On the eve of the President's arrival and the rhetoric in favor of tackling the three core issues voiced by Olmert's chief claque, Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon, a wily politician who rose like a phoenix from the status of a convicted sex offender to that of national policy maker (from way down to way up in 2007) triggered resignation threats from the coalition's right-wing parties and thereby prompt a national election.

At the same time, the prospect of American-monitored talks on these issues inspired Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to insist that the Arab refugees "Right of Return" was sacrosanct, Israel must withdraw in toto from the West Bank without retaining "even one square centimeter" and Jerusalem's status as the future Palestinian state was inevitable.

The most immediate outcome of the Bush visit could be the total elimination of the illegal outposts set up by ardent Israeli settlers in West Bank areas earmarked for Palestinian sovereignty.  They not only are deliberate encroachments on the joint U.S.-Israeli effort to grant the Palestinians self-determination in the part of this country in which they are the overwhelming majority, but also constitute in many if not most instances crass infringements of private property.  Their scrapping is specified in the U.S.-backed "road map" to peace.

Unfortunately, the settlement movement, as it evolved in the wake of the Six-Day War and especially after the Yom Kippur War of 1973, has tended to pooh-pooh legal title to tracts selected for Jewish occupancy even when those who claimed ownership produced the relevant documents, known by the Ottoman Turkish term "kushans," as proof.  Its overriding belief was and still is that the outposts can and should develop into settlements and that the settlements can and should pave the way to annexation.  This goal could be justified on the basis of Zionist ideology and the Holy Land's Biblical history, but its reliance on Israeli military power rather than consensus based on a genuine yen for co-existence based on mutual trust and respect deters potential Israeli and foreign sympathizers.

The flip side of the Bush visit was the transparent tendency in U.S. foreign policy to bolster Palestinian interests and objectives while concurrently restraining Israeli aspirations.  Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has operated on that basis since she appeared on the Middle Eastern scene.  It left the President open to Israeli criticism for such ill-fated initiatives as the handover of the Gaza Strip's strategic Philadelphi  Corridor to the Palestinian Authority thereby facilitating the smuggling of more than 60 tons of arms, ammunition and explosives into the Gaza Strip (which Abbas and his embattled Fatah movement subsequently lost to the anti-U.S. Hamas organization), permission for the Authority to import 50 Soviet-type armored personnel carriers from the Russian federation and the appointment of an American general to train the Palestinian police force -- an outfit that has proved  impotent in coping with the terrorists of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  (Besides that, its personnel are responsible for the killing of three Israelis within the past month.)

Overall, the Bush Administration's attitude has been that 'whatever Abbas wants, Abbas gets' even though his control of the West Bank remains tenuous and his attempt to roll back Hamas in the Strip, hopeless.  Talk of leaning on weak reeds, a Hebrew idiom used in the Bible, is borne out by Abbas' impotence.  But that is not surprising. 

After all, modern American history is studded with affinities for the wrong national leaders, i.e. Battista in Cuba, Somoza in Nicaragua, Diem in Viet Nam and the shah of Iran.  The current U.S. coddling of Abbas is in that unworthy tradition.

 

Comments (0) >> feed
Write comment
quote
bold
italicize
underline
strike
url
image
quote
quote
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley
Smiley

busy
 
< Prev   Next >
spacer.png, 0 kB
spacer.png, 0 kB
Copyright © 2005 - 2017 - MGI NEWS - All rights reserved. Web Design & Maintenance By: AA TECH DESIGN spacer.png, 0 kB
MGI News is the sole U.S. incorporated news and programming organization specializing in the Middle East directed by Jay Bushinsky, founding Bureau Chief of CNN Jerusalem. Topics from President Barak Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hamas, Hizbollah and more...

Topics include: Middle East News, President Barak Obama, Netanyahu, Abbas, Ahmadinejad, Hamas, Hizbollah, Goldstone Report, Nobel Peace Prize,Al Qaeda, Terrorists in the U.S., Iran, Palestinians, Israel, Enriched Uranium, Two-State Solution, UN Security Council, Human Rights Commission, Paelstinian Authority, Yitzhak Noy, Elif Ural and more...