Eli Lake, writing in The New Republic [Nov. 26], has compared Barack Obama’s nominee for National Security Advisor, Gen. James Jones, with Hillary Clinton in regard to their attitudes toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here’s some of what he said:
During the Bush administration, the State Department was the source of every call for envoys, roadmaps, summits, and efforts to revive the peace process. And for most of the Bush era, these calls were rejected by the White House and Pentagon — which believed that the Israeli-Palestinian struggle was a symptom of deeper pathologies within the Islamic and Arab world, and not the underlying cause of Middle Eastern terrorism. Within the Obama administration, this dynamic is likely to be reversed. It may be the White House — and, more specifically, the likely national security advisor, James Jones — that will be the passionate proponent of peace processing. Or, as he told the newsletter Inside the Pentagon last month, “‘Nothing is more important” to regional security in the Middle East than resolving the Israeli Palestinian conflict…
…Jones said that the Palestinians should be granted increasing degrees of local sovereignty over the West Bank until an independent state is born — with an emphasis on giving the Palestinians experience with governance. On Sunday, Ha’aretz reported that Jones favors dispatching a NATO force to keep the peace in the interim.
Clinton, on the other hand,
…is asking if even the Palestinian moderates are ready to govern. At AIPAC’s annual policy conference in 2005, she said: “How do we expect to have a democratically elected Palestinian government if their textbooks are still preaching such hatred, and this if we allow this dehumanizing rhetoric to go unchallenged? Because what is happening is young minds are being infected with this anti-Semitism, and that is going to run counter to what we hope can happen over the next years as we do work for peace and stability.”
Jones apparently fits right in with Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates and Obama advisors Brzezinski and Scowcroft. One might ask how a person with his considerable military competence expects the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority [PA] to control a ‘Palestine’ composed of rival armed gangs (someone recently said that Mahmoud Abbas’ authority extends only to several office buildings in Ramallah).
The answer is that he doesn’t — he thinks NATO will keep the peace, in place of the IDF. It’s hard to see how a Palestinian ‘government’ whose power derives from foreign troops and is opposed by a majority of Palestinians will lead to a successful independent state. And let me quote myself on the value of NATO forces in the West Bank:
Leaving aside the irony that NATO troops might include those from traditionally anti-Semitic Eastern European countries, can we expect that they would put their lives in danger to protect Israel any more than the UN forces in Lebanon have done? What will happen the first time a Hamas suicide bomber kills 15 or 20 NATO soldiers? — FresnoZionism
As Clinton points out, ‘Palestine’ is not ready to live peacefully alongside a Jewish state. But ‘realists’ like Robert Gates and Jones see the immediate creation of a Palestinian state as the top priority, and the terrorism emanating from it as something that can be managed.
It’s interesting to wonder what would happen if Jones gets his wish and a Palestinian state is invented. Hamas and Hezbollah will certainly continue their aggression against Israel, since their ‘grievance’ — that there is a Jewish state of any size — would not have been redressed. Iran will continue supporting Hezbollah in its inexorable takeover of Lebanon. Syria will not disarm its thousands of missiles pointed at Israel. Islamic fundamentalists will not stop in their attempts to destabilize Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Iran will not stop its nuclear program.
In fact the only significant change is likely to be that Palestinian terrorism against Israel will increase as the highly motivated and effective IDF is replaced by NATO in the West Bank.