The anti-Israel ‘realists’ are at it again, this time with a letter to President Bush, which will be released later today, that will call for engagement with Hamas and a tilt towards Syria in an attempt to ‘solve’ the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Signers include former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, former US Trade Representative Carla Hills, Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and US Ambassador to Russia Thomas Pickering, former Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker, former House International Relations Committee Chairman Lee Hamilton, former Counselor to President Kennedy Theodore Sorensen, and former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker.
In the letter to Bush, beyond calling on the US and the parties to focus on the outlines of a final status settlement, the co-signatories defy the administration’s views by calling for an end to the policy of isolating Hamas and for a shift in policy toward Syria — including both US/Syria engagement and renewal of Syrian/Israeli negotiations. — Steven Clemons, The Washington Note
Both of these policies would be disastrous for Israel, and for any moderate elements among the Palestinians (if there are any left).
Hamas could have ended its isolation (in other words, gotten huge amounts of financial aid from the West and become part — and ultimately the controlling part, of the official Palestinian Authority) simply by accepting Israel’s right to exist, renouncing terrorism, and accepting prior agreements between Israel and the PA. Note that this formula says nothing about the borders of Israel, Palestinian refugees, etc. But they have never been prepared to do this, preferring an outlaw existence funded by Iran and radical elements in the Muslim world which permits them to maintain their rejectionist stance toward Israel and their genocidal position about Jews.
Granting them recognition legitimizes this position and provides yet more evidence that terrorism is the best path to political legitimacy. It also strengthens Iranian influence in the region.
Syria could have had the Golan heights in return for a peace agreement at multiple times since 1999. They have never chosen this path, because the continued conflict with Israel has more important to the Assad regimes (first Hafez and now his son Bashar) as a tool to keep internal reformers at bay and maintain influence over Lebanon than possession of the Golan (see Lee Harris’ review of Barry Rubin’s “The Truth About Syria” for an in-depth discussion of Syrian motives).
Syria today is working with Iran to support Hamas and Hezbollah, helping Iraqi insurgents kill Americans, threatening war with Israel over the Golan (which Israel would give her in return for a peace treaty), and murdering anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians. They also have a huge arsenal of chemical weapons, and are apparently trying to obtain nuclear material from North Korea. Should American policy become more or less pro-Syrian?
The people who participated in this letter are either fools or knaves [they are knaves — ed.]. A few may be so clueless that they don’t really understand what Hamas is all about, and think that Hamas can be “converted” into a peaceful movement. Likewise, they believe Bashar Assad is just another politician taking care of business. The rest are “realists” who would have no compunction about assisting in the elimination of Israel, which they believe is an “unviable client state” and a foreign policy liability. In Machiavellian calculations of realpolitik, considerations of morality and sentiment are irrelevant.
Some of these knaves are influential people. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s former National Security Advisor, is the foreign policy advisor to presidential hopeful Barak Obama.
This is a really bad idea which needs to die quietly.