Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took the Obama Administration to task on November 1st, claiming that his policies have set back peacemaking between Arabs and Jews in the region.
Rice particularly took aim at Obama's handling of Jews living beyond the "Green Line"--the armistice lines (not final political borders)imposed upon Israel after the assault of a half dozen Arab nations upon its rebirth in 1948. Regarding such construction, she offered...
"I do think focusing on settlements on that particular way was a mistake...the parties then were able to have a reason not to sit down."
Before those interested in justice for all parties in conflict in the Middle East wax too nostalgic for the alleged good old days of Rice at the helm at State, a few reminders are in order. Let's begin...
Firstly, please recall that Dr. Rice has had an oil tanker in the Chevron fleet named after her for her associations with the company. Now, while other folks can also claim this, please understand the implications here.
While Rice is certainly not the only person from petro-dollar industries who has moved through the revolving doors of businesses linked to Arab oil potentates into the State Department and other key branches of government, that truism only makes my point even further... And folks speak about the supposed clout of "the Zionist Lobby" instead. The latter is child's play compared to the former's influence.
Rice's intimidation of Israel's Ehud Olmert into constantly taking steps to endanger Israel's Jews is legendary. She pressured him into having Israel supply the State Department's alleged "good cop" latter-day Arafatians of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah with arms which were then used for such things as slaughtering students in libraries at yeshivas. She pressured Israel to loosen its check points which were then followed by Arabs slaughtering Jews in their homes.
Rice's earlier meetings with Israel's Sharon government were no better.
While Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was still of this world, reliable reports told of Rice screaming demands at his ranch that Jews must provide Arabs with weapons , ease up on checkpoints, engage in additional withdrawals, further expose the necks of Jewish students and other innocents, and so forth.
One particular incident is especially noteworthy in light of Rice's recent statements criticizing Obama over his settlement issue stance.
Check out these excerpts very carefully from the Mideast Briefing of the G2 Bulletin of World Net Daily on 01.12.2005 titled, "Condi's Screaming Fit"...
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was overheard screaming at Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz during her recent visit to Israel.
What was the issue under discussion?
Mofaz was protesting the latest demand on Israel that would deprive the Jewish state of the ability to prevent the passage of terrorists and arms into Gaza.
During an earlier visit, Rice had likewise vented her anger at Mofaz, so this was not unexpected. But observers say what was different this time was the brutality and forcefulness of the demands.
Some Israeli officials are coming to the conclusion that the more they give, the higher the demands - not only in the political and security stakes, but also the decibel levels.
Increasingly, relations between the two countries are strained over misunderstandings. Israel felt certain it had agreement with the U.S. on the establishment of its borders and keeping settlement blocs. Yet, more than once, the Americans have denied the existence of this type of understanding.
Now Israel is trying to figure out if Sharon overestimated his friendship with the Bush administration.
From the Israeli point of view it is clear that Rice does not have much appreciation for the Jewish state's security needs or respect for its sovereignty.
Okay, so is there any real element of truth in what Dr. Rice is now claiming?
Well, yes...but I don't believe it's any thanks to her.
Back in July 2004, I wrote a widely-published analysis which got into what I'm alluding to in far greater detail than space will now allow. Please check out April Magic. Here's one version of it in Israel National News and Part II of the same op-ed.
The bottom line (minus important details) is that when Israel's Ariel Sharon agreed to a controversial unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2004 (and we all know the kind of "peace" Israel got from Gaza's Arabs in return), President George W. Bush gave him an official letter which stated two important points--which the current occupant in the White House simply chooses to mostly, if not entirely, ignore...
Standing near Sharon, in a news conference being watched on television and heard on radio all over the world, an American President -- for the first time since President Truman in 1948 -- finally took a political stance that might still yet lead to peace if its positions are adhered to.
The President spelled out the two key ingredients for such a recipe...
Israel should not be expected to return to the indefensible armistice lines of 1949 (and he called them just that--not "borders"); and real and fudged Arab refugees would have to go to the proposed new Arab state, not overwhelm the Jews in Israel. In any case, half of Israel's Jews were refugees from Arab/Muslim lands. There were more Jews who fled the latter because of the combined Arab attack on Israel in 1948 than Arabs who fled in the opposite direction because of the war that Arabs themselves started.
Einstein was not needed to figure this out.
But Arabs had long been given reason, via the world's actions, to hope that Israel would yet become an updated Czechoslovakia 1938, where Israel would be sacrificed for "peace for our time," with the West Bank as its own Sudetenland. All that was missing was a new, proper Neville Chamberlain and conditions allowing for another Munich sellout to achieve "peace."
President Bush's words, as simple as they were, are still the magic ingredients necessary if there is ever to be peace between Arab and Jew in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, they proved to be fleeting.
No sooner than they were spoken, Colin Powell's State Department began to water them down. Again, no surprise here. The Foggy Folks fought President Truman over the very rebirth of Israel a half-century earlier.
In January 2005, Dr. Rice took over leadership at State. Prior to this, to make matters worse, something even more disturbing had transpired. America's Iraq prison scandal erupted. This-- added to an already increased level of Arab animosity surfacing regarding our invasion of Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and so forth--led the State Department to quickly search for additional ways to appease the Arabs.
Gone, apparently in an instant, was the magic of April.
Both the State Department and the President himself soon made statements which basically retracted much of what he had said and promised to Sharon earlier. Furthermore, this appeasement at Israel's expense only intensified when Rice--who is now criticizing Obama--became the head honcho of the Arabists wielding far too much influence at the State Department.
There was, however, one important exception to this otherwise unfortunate turn of events...
The official letter Israel received from the President in 2004 remained...even though the Obama Administration has basically laughed at it. But I can't see how Dr. Rice can make any claims to it.
Like Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rice also trashed any Jewish leaders who would not prostrate themselves low enough to the State Department's demands regarding Jews wanting to live beyond the nine to fifteen-mile wide ghetto of a state that they were permitted via the '49 UN-imposed armistice lines. This, of course, is what the building freeze and settlement issues are all about. It all comes down to whether Israel gets the territorial compromise--giving it more secure and real borders promised to it in the wake of the '67 War via the final draft of UNSC Resolution 242--or not.
While the Obama Administration deserves serious criticism regarding its approach to Arab-Israeli peacemaking, the reality is that new folks simply took their cues from their predecessors.
Dr. Rice's own disrespectful handling of Israeli leaders wanting to insure that their own endangered, minuscule nation was not sacrificed for the creation of the Arab's 22nd state is well documented. Recall her screaming episodes mentioned above over just such crucial issues.
No, despite Rice's recent, welcome comments, she has little wriggle room to pretend to insinuate or take any credit here.
The only Israeli leaders Rice got along with were those willing to prostrate themselves to the State Department Arabists' demands. In this, she is no different than the current crew running the show. Indeed, that is precisely what Obama's recent open mic response to France's Sarkozy was all about in their mutual trashing of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
http://q4j-middle-east.com Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs. He has created and conducted counter-Arab propaganda programs for college youth, has lectured on numerous campuses and other platforms, and has publicly debated many Arab spokesmen. His articles and op-eds have been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites all around the world. Visit his website at http://www.geraldahonigman.com/