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December 05, 2002

Very interesting..

From DEBKAfile's

In a corner of the hall in Herzliya sat a small group of individuals who listened quietly to Sharon’s address with growing astonishment. DEBKAfile’s military sources identified them as a US Pentagon delegation on an unofficial, unannounced visit. Its members failed to understand how Sharon could ignore the new threats menacing Israel on every hand and was sufficiently out of tune with the realities of Washington policies to offer his Palestinian treatise at this time.

It is an open secret in Washington that the White House has no time for the “road map” devised by Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Quartet, any more than it has for Arafat, whom Bush does not want to see anywhere near government, however “symbolic” the role assigned him. In any case, Israel faces untold dangers until the end of January and by then the Middle East is likely to be a different place.

The appointment of Elliott Abrams as head of the National Security Council’s Middle East section is important in the context of Powell’s initiatives in concert with European governments and the UN secretariat – and therefore Sharon’s newfound Palestinian concepts. Announcing the appointment, Dr. Rice made it clear that Abrams will take charge of the White House’s peace initiatives and its policies on Israel-Arab relations, thereby reducing if not cutting out the secretary of state’s powers on these issues.

Ted Belman