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The Roadmap Ahead II - Which does Israel Want - Settlements or US Support?


Israelis are going to elections convinced that 2003 will be like 2001-2002. The Israeli government has the dangerous illusion that the USA will continue to support Ariel Sharon's policies indefinitely, and that a change of regime in Iraq will make the Middle East safe for settler Zionism. The war will solve all things. The Palestinian problem will evaporate by magic, and 3.5 million Palestinians will be transferred to "somewhere" allowing the Jews of Israel to live in peace and harmony, enjoying the benefits of government by godfathers and religious fanatics.

Anti-Semites and anti-Zionists have cited a "Zionist conspiracy" in the USA that is cooking up a war in Iraq in order to further the aims of Israeli settler advocates. The chief conspirator of the Zionist conpiracy, almost certainly an elder of Zion according to these folks, is Paul Wolfowitz.

This unholy alliance has totally ignored traditional US policy, announced US policy, the US backed UN resolution concerning a Palestinian state, and the continually advancing quartet roadmap plan, which hands over Sharon's government like a sword of Damocles. Sharon wants both US support and settlements. 9-11 and the Iraq war allowed him to have both for a time, but that time is drawing to an end.

In "Israeli Elections: The Roadmap Ahead" I argued that after the Iraqi problem is settled, the USA will turn to pressuring Israel to face up to its obligations in the peace process - and get with the roadmap plan.

Confirmation for this view, even before the Iraq war has started, comes from none other than Paul Wolfowitz himself. Wolfowitz was quite explicit about USA plans regarding the Israel-Palestinian issue after the war, and rather explicit regarding the US stand on settlements, as noted in an article in today's Ha'aretz.

U.S. will focus on settlements after war, Wolfowitz says


By Aluf Benn

In his first public comments regarding U.S. policy in the Middle East on the "day
after" the anticipated war in Iraq, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said the
administration will intensify its focus on the establishment of a Palestinian state.

In an interview in the Washington Post on Friday, Wolfowitz said, "Our stake in
pushing for a Palestinian state will grow" after the war, and he noted that he preferred
"concrete steps, like dealing with the settlements" over the advancing of diplomatic
issues as part of a "process."

Wolfowitz is the most senior Jewish member of the political and defense branches of
the current U.S. administration. He is considered to be the architect behind the current
closing in on Iraq, a clear supporter of Israel, and a leading member of the Jewish right
in Washington, which includes Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith, and the
National Security Council adviser on the Middle East, Elliot Abrams.

Wolfowitz has family, including a sister, in Israel, and is well-acquainted with
many members of the government, including Nathan Sharansky and former ambassador to
Washington, David Ivry.

Several months ago, Wolfowitz represented the administration at a pro-Israel rally,
and enraged Jewish activists and the Christian right when he emphasized the need for a
political solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.

In a discussion with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, Wolfowitz stressed
that "the Israelis have to be kept out" of any U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

During the previous Gulf War, Wolfowitz held the No. 3 spot at the Pentagon, and he
was dispatched to Israel while the country was under attack from Iraqi ballistic missiles.

A senior government source surprised by Wolfowitz's comments on the settlements,
attributed them to his desire to rally Arab and European support for the war against Iraq.

"There is no other way to explain it," he said, since the administration has yet to
present Israel officially with its expectations on "the day after."

The dominant opinion in Israel is that even after the war in Iraq, the U.S.
administration will not rush to pressure Israel into making concessions, because there
will be other priorities, and President George Bush will be facing an election year and
will need the Jewish vote.

However, reports have reached Jerusalem about comments on the settlements made by
Elliot Abrams, who is the administration figure for preparations for "the day after."
Abrams, known for his sharp criticism of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, has
asked, "What do they [the Israelis] want with these settlements?"

In recent weeks the administration's diplomatic focus has been the "road map" to
resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the U.S. has not finalized the document's
contents with its Quartet partners - the European Union, the United Nations and Russia -
on said when final version will be presented. The Europeans are pressing for its
completion immediately following Israel's January 28 elections, while the Americans would
like to see a government in place before they proceed.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is derisive of the Quartet's efforts in an interview to
be published in the Washington Post today: "The Quartet is nothing! I do not take it
seriously and I believe that the U.S. also does not take it seriously."

Sharon reiterates a three-phase plan he says he concluded with the U.S.
administration: an end to terrorism and a change in Palestinian leadership; establishment
of a Palestinian state with temporary borders; and then a permanent solution.

The Israeli government is now waiting for the administration to initiate more
intensive contacts leading to approval of the special aid package requested by Jerusalem.
Government sources in Jerusalem believe that Washington will make an announcement about
this prior to the elections here.

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by Ami Isseroff @ 04:08 PM CST [Link]


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Replies: 10 comments

This article is right. As a US citizen, let me say a few things:

- The US wants a stable middle east so we can have a stable source of oil, since our economy is totally dependent on it and our leaders have ties to the oil industry.
- The US sees the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as undermining the stability it needs.
- The US will do what is in its interest first, just like any country.
- Israel should act proactively for peace instead of waiting for a US solution to be forced on it, take the advantage or be placed at a disadvantage.

Posted by Karen @ 01/20/2003 12:27 AM CST

There will never be any real peace in Israel until all the Arabs are expelled from the Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Since Jews living in Arab lands were expelled in the 1940's, it would be reciprocal and poetic justice to expel the Arabs from biblical and archeological Israel.

There is no shortage of Arab land in the Middle-East. Perhaps the Palestinians can make a life for themselves in undisputed land and become productive people vice spending all their time in the liberated terrotories sulking and planning terrorist attacks upon Israeli citizens and ruining their economy. Respectfully, George Haas, Past Commander, Jewish War Veteran Post 580, New Orleans, LA

Posted by George Haas @ 01/24/2003 09:23 PM CST

Man, I just stumbled in here looking for something to eat.

Posted by Dr. Dre @ 01/30/2003 08:25 PM CST

I'm just finshing what my dad started. Afterall, I have to protect my retirement fund, all 40 million barrels of it.

Posted by GW Bush @ 01/30/2003 08:28 PM CST

Your propagandizing against Israel becomes more slanderous as the months go by. Last month you wrote:
"The vague and absurd dreams that some may have, of spiriting away vast numbers of Palestinians to Iraq or Jordan or some other destination under the cover of war, will evaporate."

This month, you have moved on to present these absurd dreams as the government's official policy. You succeed in making the anti-semitism of the Arab world seem quite innocent by comparison.

Posted by Jon Kagan @ 02/03/2003 03:18 PM CST

Mr. Isseroff, do you seriously believe that the US *cares* about such a petty matter like Israeli settlements?

Posted by Miranda @ 02/07/2003 05:26 PM CST

If we can believe the "Wolfowitz Promise" and Palestinians get sovereignty over Gaza/WestBank, what happens to the 85% of West Bank Land now owned by Jewish Interests? Would USA allow 85% Iraqii-ownership USA land? Will the Israeli Agency which rents all israeli land allow Palestinians to buy Israeli Land?

Posted by derPoodle @ 02/15/2003 04:08 AM CST

A terrorist is one who supports terrorism. Terrorism is (1) the act of terrorizing (2)A system of government that seeks to rule by intimidation and (3)Unlawful acts of violence committed in an organized attempt to overthrow a government. Funk and Wagnalls dictionary has just defined the actions of Israel between 1967 and yesterday, much closer than the actions of the Palestinians including Hamas. The Israli armed forces have killed about three times as many innocent Palestinian civilians as all the suicide bombers combind. Until the United States publically admits the Palestinian life is just as valuable as a Jewish life and says to Israel, "No more.", there will be no peace in the Middles East

Posted by Stephen Law @ 02/22/2003 03:15 PM CST

Israel is America's real enemy in the World. Sharon said in Oct. 2001 that "we the Jewish people control America and the Americans know it". Israel spies on America moreso than any other country ie. Jonathan Pollard. It was Israel that launched a sneak attack on the USS LIBERTY in June 1967 murdering in cold blood 35 American sailors and wounding 171 more. This was a government ordered attack, not some Arab "terrorists". This shameful crime still cries for justice.
Israel takes more hard earned American taxpayer dollars than any other country and uses the money to take land from the Palestinians. Israel is the ONLY country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons and the most powerful military establishment. Why does it need nukes? Perhaps to intimidate and blackmail the Arabs for their oil.

Posted by James Richardson @ 03/08/2003 05:48 AM CST

The settlements must go. Not that this will appease members of such groups as Hamas and Jihad, and all those who believe that the only solution is the complete destruction of Israel, but it will help give Israel more international legitimacy, and once the settlements are gone and the Palestinians have their own state, I think they'll give less and less support to the aforementioned groups. However, with the way things are going now, and with Yasser Arafat, who, regarding the future of the Palestinian state, over the last, say, 15 years or so, has only ever said 'one day soon a Palestinian flag will fly over Jerusalem' I am afraid there will be no end to this conflict. If Arafat and those in control of the future of Palestine aren't willing to compromise (as they were offered 97% of the Gaza Strip and West Bank in July 2000), and if the Palestinians are becomming more and more radicalized by the israeli occupation, then there will be no end. Another important note: there is no word in the Arabic language that equals the english word 'compromise'. None at all. That should be somewhat relevant. Any solution will have to be forces upon both sides.

Kyle Menken

Posted by Kyle Menken @ 03/12/2003 06:23 PM CST

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