Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Rice's cancellation

In an unprecedented move, US Secty. of State Condoleeza Rice has cancelled her planned trip to Israel this week. The reasons for this are not hard to decipher, one could cite the current political turmoil in Israel and the weakness of the Olmert Government following the Lebanon War and the interim Winograd Report. But, what is most likely the proximal cause is the recent list of "confidence building measures" that the US officially requested Israel and the PA to implement as "benchmarks" to improve the trust between the two sides and to help start the so-called peace process. This was seen as an American response to the Arab/Saudi so-called peace initiative, that is nothing more than a capitulation plan for Israel to accept the Arab positions.
The so-called confidence building measures are mostly aimed at Israel, and require the removal of various road blocks, used to intercept terrorists, and the opening of a regular bus connection between Gaza and the West Bank.
The US also calls on the PA to stop the rocket attacks on southern Israel and to release the Israeli hostage Cpl. Gilad Shalit. Although Pres. Abbas was positive about the US initiative, some of his aides criticized it, and it was rejected by the Hamas Government and its leader in Damascus, Khaled Mashaal, who called them a trick by the US to stop the "resistance." Also, today a Hamas group warned that if Israel responds to the rocket attacks by invading Gaza they will kill Shalit, but this was later denied by a spokesman for the Hamas Government. Given the current chaos in Gaza noone knows what can happen to Shalit.
Guess who is attacking UNWRA? Some Palestinian extremists have attacked and partly destroyed the American School in northern Gaza and also an UNWRA school as well as a sports field because boys and girls have been allowed to mix together. This is the "Talibanisation" of the Palestinian conflict. While the PA has almost completely lost control of its territory, Israel is expected to make concessions to them. Under no circumstances should Israel allow a regular bus connection between Gaza and the West Bank, because it will absolutely be used to smuggle arms and terrorists into the West Bank. Rice knows this and yet she still asks Israel to make this one-sided and suicidal concession. Since the Olmert Government is so weak and so controversial it cannot take any such step without risking its existence, so Rice has decided not to come so that she will not be forced to ask this of the Olmert Government, and force them to reject her request. Also, at the same time the State Dept. has backed off the timeline it gave with specific dates for realising its benchmarks, it now calls them "flexible."
Nevertheless, Rice is going next week to a meeting of the Quartet in Egypt, that will only end up putting more pressure on Israel. Don't they see that the PA is being run by a terrorist organization out of Damascus and that Israel cannot, while being bombarded by rockets from Gaza, make any concessions to the PA or the Arabs? Let them put some pressure on Hamas, Syria or Iran for that matter, if they can, because that's where the impetus for the current instability derives.


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