Thursday, November 09, 2006

US and Israel: A Change of Course? - Debka

David Seaton's New Links
Debka is reportedly an unofficial, Israeli intelligence, perma-leak. It is always reliable to the extent that it tells you what Israeli intelligence wants you to know. Perhaps all Debka wants to do is to destabilize Olmert, but this article shows that important people in Israel are getting nervous about the return of James Baker. Nobody there has ever forgotten his famous quote on the Israel lobby, "Fuck the Jews. They didn't vote for us." Well, the fact is that Bush is never going to need the Jewish vote or anybody else's again. He hasn't much to lose. He has two years to salvage some sort of legacy... If he managed to solve the Palestinian question to the satisfaction of the Islamic world that would end most of America's problems in the Middle East and win the approval of the entire world, especially Europe. The neocons have turned on him and the Bush family is all about loyalty and revenge... Who knows? All that we know is that they are getting nervous in Israel. DS

LINK: The Democratic midterm election victory and the defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld coming replacement by Robert Gates will usher in radical Middle East policy changes that will apply also to Israel. For now, policy-making is in a state of flux, and as long as Bush has not got together with Democratic leaders to forge a bipartisan position, there is no point in the prime minister’s visit, it was indicated. A senior US official told DEBKAfile sources Wednesday night: Olmert would be wise not to insist on the visit going ahead on time,” but rather take note of the president’s stress in his first speech after the election that he is waiting for the bipartisan Iraq commission headed by ex-secretary of state James Baker and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton to submit their report. Bush means to base his work with the Democrats on these findings. Since the report is not just about Iraq but encompasses the full range of US policies for the Middle East and the Arab and Muslim world which will require time to air, the Olmert visit next week would be premature. According to this official, the Baker-Hamilton panel is charting drastic changes in administration policy on Israel, whose speedy implementation is recommended as the key to extricating the US from its imbroglio in Iraq. Hinging the solution of Middle East problems as a whole on the Palestinian-Israeli issue has always been the Democratic way. It is favored in particular by Nancy Pelosi of California who, as her party’s candidate for next Speaker of the House of Representatives, will become one of Washington’s most influential politicians. This was also Baker’s line under George Bush senior in the 1980s, when he dragged prime minister Yitzhak Shamir to the Madrid Peace Conference against his will. The White House also has a bone to pick with Olmert over his remark in a television program this week when he said that two world-class leaders were working to arrange a meeting for him with Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora. US officials deny this and say this indiscretion placed in jeopardy the efforts to bolster the Lebanese government and even put Siniora in danger of his life. Olmert has a perfectly valid pretext for postponing his Washington visit in the extremely high security tension following the Beit Hanoun episode.

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