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

June 02, 2003

Could it be?

On April 27, 2003, Debka reported
Washington’s real, updated Middle East road map, the one guiding its current policies, is thus revealed. Clearly, Abu Mazen will not be let off more lightly than Bashar Assad. This does not mean that Israel will escape demands for concessions, even painful ones, but not before the blight of terror is seriously addressed by the two Arab regimes. The Syrian president must take tough action against the Hizballah, as well as the Jihad Islami, Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups headquartered in Damascus; the Palestinian prime minister and his government will be required to actively beat down the Fatah, the Al Aqsa Brigades as well as the Jihad Islami and Hamas organizations in Palestinian areas. Assad will not be let off the hook. If the Palestinian “reformists” fail, they will be denied US backing for Palestinian independence and statehood. The Bush administration did not extinguish Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror in order to tolerate and treat with terror-sponsoring regimes in Damascus and Ramallah. If that message does not register, then another two regime changes lie ahead.
On May 10, 2003, Debka reported
After undergoing several metamorphoses since its formulation by the Quartet, the Middle East road map looks rather like a skimpy blanket pulled over Ariel Sharon, Colin Powell, Bashar Assad, Abu Mazen and Yasser Arafat while each keeps to his own bed. Saturday, May 10, the blanket was whisked away, draining of its structural content the heralded visit by US secretary of state Powell to Israel and the Palestinians. Correspondingly, the regional context of his trip swelled in importance, its focus switching from the Israel-Palestinian conflict over to US relations with Iran, Syria and Lebanon – a higher priority in the post-Iraq war period.

This switch generated the Bush administration’s decision, as leaked in Washington Saturday, to put aside the road map for now and press instead for Israeli and Palestinian steps to ease the tensions between them.
Much has happened since then to suggest that the Israel Palestinian conflict is back on the front burner and that America has backed off somewhat in the pressure it was applying to both Syria and Iran.

On May 28, Jacob Timmerman the senior editor of Insight Magazine the sister publication of the Washington Times, confirmed the Debka story about the pressure on Syria
The May 3 meeting in the presidential palace on the hilltop overlooking Damascus was short and to the point. Secretary of State Colin Powell, flanked by State Department Arabists, told Syrian dictator Bashar Assad that the U.S. victory in Iraq had changed the way America plans to do business in the Middle East. The days of the cozy deals and of winking and nodding at Syrian support for terrorism were ended. He then presented Assad with a list of U.S. demands that was nothing short of breathtaking.
In my April article Perfecting the Unifying theory I quoted from Bush's June speech of last year
Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel -- including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian supplies to these groups, and oppose regimes that promote terror, like Iraq. And Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations.
Then concluded
Those of us who vigorously oppose the Road Map and the Quartet’s involvement view these things in the context of the present Middle East. Bush on the other hand sees them in the context of a new Middle East.

The vision of two states is part of a larger vision of a peaceful Middle East. There won’t be the first without the latter.
What has destablized everyone lately, myself included, is that Bush has demanded enormous concessions from Israel before any actions on the part of Palestinians, Syria or Iran to do their part. It seems like he is betraying Israel and he might be. As of June 2nd, we learn that Sharon is being asked to release over 1200 prisoners and dismantle over 100 outposts. all for a partial ceasefire. Incredible.

But let's not count him out just yet or Israel too for that matter. It may be that he is just getting Israel to set the stage for enormous American pressure on the Palestinians, Syria and Iran in accordance with his words quoted above. His tough demands on Israel justify his tough demands on the Arabs. We will soon know. It may also be a sign that America intends to succeed with the heavy hand approach in dismantling the terror infrastructure so are saying to Sharon do it in advance, we will deliver.

Keep in mind that final issues aren't to be debated until the terror infrastucture has been entirely eliminated. Then Israel is entitled to force their demands on the Arabs who won't be able to resort to terror as an instrument of diplomacy. Hey I am getting carried away with myself. One thing at a time.