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US Imposed Middle East Settlement: Start of another fiasco

11/24/2008

The US has not finished extracting itself from the nightmarish quagmire of Iraq, and is probably about to get involved in a worse quagmire in Afghanistan. Worse, the US may be about to launch itself into an adventure in Israel and Palestine that will make Iraq and Afghanistan look like pleasure trips. Ironically, the people urging this course are not right wing neo-con "hard line" imperialists, but their opponents, those who had urged an end to the Iraq war and an attempt to engage Iran.

Good intentions always pave the road to you-know-where. The nightmare scenario has been presented as a peace plan by Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinsky and Scowcroft are not just any Op-Ed hacks, of course. They have significant influence on the Obama administration. Similar ideas are rumored to be supported by General James Jones, who is supposedly the nominee for the post of National Security Adviser.

Basically, the plan calls for US intervention to enforce a solution that is approximately like the Clinton Bridging Proposals. Palestinian refugees will not get right of return, but the Palestinians will get all or most of the land in the West Bank as well of course as Gaza. The Palestinians would get a capital in Jerusalem, but the plan doesn't specify where in Jerusalem that capital would be. For American readers of the Washington Post, this seems like a reasonable plan, but it has no hope of being accepted without coercion. Those ideas were rejected by the Palestinians in 2000, and better proposals were rejected again in the Taba negotiations, there is little chance that the Palestinians will be happy over this plan. Moderate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted again and again that he will not accept anything less than all the demands of the Palestinians, including right of return. Moreover, Israel has moved to the right since then and it is unlikely that any such plan would pass a referendum today. And of course, the Hamas rule in Gaza. The Hamas are not interested in peace with Israel, to put it mildly. They, along with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are controlled by Iran, and they also control the Popular resistance committees. Iran will never allow a peace plan to succeed if it is sponsored by the United States. So, while the US can bend the arms of its clients and allies to accept the plan on the diplomatic level, there is going to be organized terrorist resistance to it.

Thus far, however, there is nothing alarming about this plan. It is just nice idea for implementing the solution that everyone knows is the only solution, and which nonetheless has no chance of succeeding. The bomb in the plan offered by Scowcroft and Brzezinski is this:

Something more might be needed to deal with Israeli security concerns about turning over territory to a Palestinian government incapable of securing Israel against terrorist activity. That could be dealt with by deploying an international peacekeeping force, such as one from NATO, which could not only replace Israeli security but train Palestinian troops to become effective.

Let's be clear. Israel will not trust any international force unless it includes American soldiers, though even then it will be a tough sell. So there will need to be two divisions or more of US soldiers for Gaza and the West Bank to keep the peace. They will not have the benefit of Israeli intelligence. As in Baghdad, and previously in Beirut, they will be sitting ducks for terrorists. Two Hezbollah bombing attacks in Lebanon were sufficient to clear that country of US soldiers, but that lesson has evidently been forgotten.

It is hard to believe that anyone is considering this plan seriously, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000731.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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