So here it is: Condeleezza Rice is in the region and will be meeting today with Olmert, Livni and Abbas. Her agenda is clear. She wants to promote advancement towards the "peace" process. The Post quotes an unnamed US official as saying that the US would like to see the "ceasefire" extended to Judea-Samaria. Whether this is in the best interests of Israel is truly beside the point.
As the Post stated it: "…a long-lasting political deal between Israel and the Palestinians, backed by several Arab countries, would be a considerable victory for the Bush administration and is widely considered a necessity to quiet violence throughout the region, including Iraq."
Bush — who has just made a statement in this regard — is looking for that ephemeral "victory" and is most assuredly not focused on encouraging Israel to take out terrorism, which is the only way to genuinely "quiet violence." Be assured that Rice will apply considerable pressure during her visit.
Says the Post, "…most…US officials note the two issues, the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are inextricably linked." Unfortunately, they’ve got the nature of the link all wrong. The stronger Israel is, the more Israel defeats centers of terrorism, the better for achieving stability in Iraq. An ersatz "peace" will achieve nothing positive in the long run.
Said the above unnamed State Department official, "[However] the United States is not approaching them [Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] as a package deal." That’s good of the United States.
My favorite line: "US officials say they do not expect Rice to walk away with a long-term peace deal between the two sides." How profound. How prescient. How utterly ridiculous.
Equally ridiculous is the US hope, expressed by Rice’s advisor David Satterfield, that Abbas will be able to form a gov’t without Hamas in it.
This is all part of a serious and dangerous disconnect from reality on the part of American officials.
Israel now insists that the "ceasefire" will not be extended to Judea-Samaria until Shalit is released. Look, Olmert has said in public statements addressed to the Palestinians, we’ll not only extend the "ceasefire," we’ll give you all sorts of other things, such as easing at checkpoints. Why? Rewarding them for what they did wrong? Appeasement, appeasement, appeasement.
Olmert needs Shalit returned if he is to appear to come out ahead here politically. He’ll do it on the back of Israeli security.
Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman was not successful in his latest attempt to negotiate Shalit’s release. Apparently the hold-up involves issues surrounding the prisoners we will release — who, how many, in what stages, etc. In spite of Olmert’s recent statement about being willing to release prisoners serving long terms (which seems to imply with blood on their hands, — Israel’s previous red line), Israel is balking at what Hamas is requesting.
According to al-Hayat, Hamas is demanding the release of Marwan Barghouti. His name has been bandied about in this regard many times. He should never, ever be released. Serving multiple life sentences for the lives of innocent Israelis he took, he was head of the terrorist Tanzim of Fatah, and closely involved with Fatah’s terrorist Al Aksa Brigades as well; he fomented and helped orchestrate the "spontaneous" demonstration that became the second Intifada. He’s clever and he’s popular, and he would do us no good on the outside.
Suleiman says the issues will soon be resolved. We’ve heard that before, and we’ll have to wait and see.
Palestinian Public Works Minister Abdel Rahman Zeidan, of Hamas, was released by Israel last night; Zeidan was one of the Hamas members rounded up by Israel after Shalit’s kidnapping. No telling yet if this signals something bigger.
My next posting will come after Shabbat. I should only have something good to say. But I’m not out of touch with reality, and so I seriously doubt it.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/11/30/posted-november-30-2006.html