Israel’s Lawyer Returns – Phil Giraldi
Fred Hiatt, editor of the Washington Post's editorial page, is particularly shameless about promoting both an imperial foreign policy and the Israeli connection. In today's edition on page A6, billed as analysis, appears a Glenn Kessler piece called “Experts question whether US has a real Israel strategy." The article is illustrated by a color photo of Palestinian youths throwing stones. Glenn’s Kessler’s assembled experts turn out to be Daniel Kurtzer, Aaron David Miller, Elliot Abrams, and Martin Indyk. That the Post believes that only Jews can rightfully comment on the US relationship with Israel should be disturbing to the 98% of the population that is not Jewish but which is nevertheless called on to financially support Tel Aviv, but what really caught my attention was a small bit towards the beginning of the piece. Kessler reports that “…Yitzhak Molcho, a low key private lawyer in Israel who negotiated the settlement freeze with Mitchell, worked closely behind the scenes on the Israeli response with Dennis Ross, a senior official on the National Security Council.”
First of all, the “settlement freeze” should rightly be called the “unsuccessful settlement freeze” as the Israelis never complied with the US demands. And second, there is the disturbing reemergence of Ross. At Camp David in 2000 when Bill Clinton brought together Yassir Arafat and Ehud Barak, Ross was a chief negotiator. He reportedly briefed the Israelis in advance on all US negotiating positions to obtain their approval, giving Israel a de facto veto over anything it objected to. For that yeoman’s work Ross was dubbed “Israel’s lawyer” by his colleagues. Now it would appear that Ross is doing the same thing for Obama. If Kessler is correct, the description of Ross’s role suggests that he is concerned with an acceptable Israeli response, not in convincing Israel that it must change its behavior to support US interests in the region. Which raises the question “Who is he working for and to what end?”
A few days ago I predicted that the crisis with Netanyahu would quickly be patched over with Obama conceding on every point and we would be back to business as usual with Israel controlling the lopsided bilateral relationship. While it is possible that the tone of the narrative has somewhat shifted, the return to the status quo ante has largely come to pass and just in time for the annual AIPAC Conference where Hillary Clinton will no doubt speak soothingly, followed by a long conga line of congressmen who will deliver their own obeisances. I would like to think that international frustration with Israeli intransigence will finally reach a boiling point, possibly dragging Washington along kicking and screaming to actually pressure Israel in some real way to change course. We shall see, but I wouldn’t be optimistic. And before that happens American soldiers might well be drawn willy-nilly into a war with Iran, a war not of our choosing and one that can only have bad consequences.
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