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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 10, 2003

Why I'm glad that Gore lost

Rober Kaiser's article "Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical On Mideast Policy" (already explicated by Joseph Norland) is one of those articles that again reinforces my belief that Israel is fortunate to have a sympathetic President residing on Pennsylvania Avenue. It was only five years ago that a Washington Post reporter could barely contain his glee that President Clinton was practicing "snub diplomacy" with then-PM Netanyahu. Aside from Joseph's accurate criticism of Kaiser's article that it implies that "America's foreign policy is being made by Israeli PM Ariel Sharon" and thus echoing the vile views of the ZOG believers, what's disturbing about the article is its premise. Kaiser, though he is dispassionate and clinical throughout seems amazed that anyone should assume that one side (specifically Israel) should be favored over the other. Kaiser, for example, quote retired General Anthony Zinni:
Since then, U.S. policy has been in step with Sharon's. The peace process is "quiescent," said retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, Bush's special envoy to the region. "I've kind of gone dormant," he added.
Does he mention that each of the three times Zinni was dispatched to the Middle East, his arrival was greeted by stepped up Palestinian terrorism? Would the fact that "peace moves" seem to breed terror have anything to do with the Bush administration's beliefs?
Kaiser even seems befuddled about the notion that anyone might consider anything other than that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the central issue in the Middle East. Did Iraqi aggression have anything to do with Israel?
Despite my misgivings about Kaiser's article I find it re-assuring. For now Israel and the U.S. seem to be on the same page.
That's not to say there aren't concerns.
Today's Arutz-7 gives voice to some of these concerns, quoting its correspondent Haggai Huberman:
"Both sides are interested in showing that there's talks. Sharon knows that after Iraq, there will be intensified American interest in our region. He therefore wants to be able to show that there's something going on, as if to tell the Americans that they don't have to come down on us too hard. He doesn't want them forcing the Road Map timetable on him... The Palestinians are interested in having talks because they want to do everything they can to show that they're not associated with Saddam Hussein. They're trying to extricate themselves from this image, especially as Saddam's fall will put his allies next on the target..."
Huberman concluded that he has trouble believing that Sharon "is really pushing for a process with dangers of which he is quite aware. I'm not saying we can be complacent - he needs to be watched very carefully - but I don't think he will let these talks come to fruition and lead to a withdrawal, certainly not at present."
Still if we'd gotten Al Gore to be President this might have been the prevailing wisdom:
A particular imbalance in the process is the remarkable blind spot of Israelis for the regular nonviolent protests by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. A suicide bombing that kills only a few speaks louder than thousands of hours of Palestinian nonviolent protest
And this says nothing of the incitement that springs seemingly from every single organ of Palestinian society. The above comes from an op-ed by Hady Amr who was identified as "national director for ethnic American outreach for Al Gore's presidential campaign." Who would you rather have on your side? Condoleezza Rice's boss or Hady Amr's?

Cross posted on David's Israel Blog.