"What’s sad is that Rice knew precisely what was needed to make the process work. Annapolis called for a tripartite commission in which a U.S. representative would sit with both sides to monitor progress in improving security and living conditions. The Israelis even agreed that the U.S. representative should decide whether the road map conditions had been met. President Bush named Air Force Lt. Gen. William Fraser III to this mediating post in January. But so far, his commission hasn’t had a single three-way meeting. The first one is scheduled for Thursday, but there’s no plan to make a public report.
Rice also appointed a distinguished personal representative, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones, back in November to study a framework for mutual security in a future Palestinian state. Jones has made just one fact-finding trip so far, and State Department officials believe that his mission hasn’t made much progress.
Lurking behind this stalemate is the sinister hand of Hamas. It was Rice who insisted that this militant Islamic group be allowed to participate in the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, over strong protests from both Israelis and moderate Palestinians. Rice argued that the Islamic militancy represented by Hamas had to be given a political voice. But when Hamas won and predictably continued to reject Israel’s right to exist, the United States had no coherent follow-up strategy. A new article in Vanity Fair says that Washington secretly egged on the rival Fatah movement to stage a coup in Gaza, but Hamas moved first with a countercoup that expelled Fatah security forces. The Hamas militants kept firing their rockets, goading the Israelis toward the reinvasion of Gaza they launched Feb. 27 that nearly scuttled the post-Annapolis peace process.
What’s needed is some sort of cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. But Washington and Jerusalem stoutly insist that they will never negotiate with a terrorist organization. Meanwhile, they are quietly blessing an Egyptian effort to broker just such a cease-fire package. I’m sorry, but that is a lame strategy — letting others do secretly what you refuse to do openly.
Rice keeps insisting that she is serious about achieving an Israeli-Palestinian breakthrough before President Bush leaves office. But progress requires disciplined follow-through. Without it, you can add Annapolis to the dustbin. " Ignatius
Ignatius is smarter than to have thought that the Rice/Bush braintrust had produced a "magic wand" at Annapolis. This must be all a bit "tongue in cheek."
Clearly, Rice is not competent to run American diplomacy and foreign policy. Did she really think that HAMAS would acknowledge Israel as a state once they were in power? What fool thought that? It must have been someone with a political science background who naturally (following the classic thought of that discipline) believed that the Islamc fervor and fanaticism of HAMAS was really just a "mask" for whatever it is that REALLY bothers them.
I was in the West Bank last month and drove from Jerusalem to Jenin. It was an interesting experience, one in which the callous humiliation of Palestinian men by Israeli troops was as evident as Ignatius describes it. We need to have Petraeus go for a visit and explain what "counterinsurgency" means. The Palestinian townspeople in the West Bank seem beaten down and quiet now. That will not last long.
The Palestinians and Israel need a "truce?" HUDNA anyone? pl
See my posts on SST last year about Annapolis.