Posted by: Lister | February 24, 2007

Bush says jump…

…and Olmert asks “How high?”

The United States demanded that Israel desist from even exploratory contacts with Syria, of the sort that would test whether Damascus is serious in its declared intentions to hold peace talks with Israel.

[…] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has so far adopted the strict American position not to respond to the Syrian feelers.

On the other hand, at the Foreign Ministry and within the defense establishment, there is a greater degree of openness to the offers, and the overall view is that the door should not be closed entirely to the Syrians. Similarly, many believe that the Syrian offers should be tested for their sincerity.

Among the leading individuals supporting this view is Defense Minister Amir Peretz.

This is old news, actually. An old Forward article: Bush’s Veto (Dec 2006)

Israel’s worst-kept diplomatic secret became public knowledge this week when its prime minister, Ehud Olmert, told his Cabinet that he was against taking up a dramatic new Syrian offer for peace talks — because doing so would undermine President Bush.

[…] Olmert’s position is that Israel can’t talk to Syria until it stops playing host to Palestinian rejectionist groups and providing support to Hezbollah. Critics argue that those are precisely the behaviors Israel should be negotiating to have halted. “Israel is demanding, as a precondition, that Syria give all that it has to give — even before sitting down at the negotiating table,” celebrated Israeli writer Amos Oz wrote this week. “That is a ludicrous demand.”

It’s long been rumored that Olmert’s real motive is placating Bush. He’s consistently denied it — until now. This time, he put his cards on the table. What drove him to ’fess up was a new peace overture from Damascus, announced December 16 by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem. Speaking to a Lebanese newspaper, Moallem offered to open peace talks without any preconditions — dropping for the first time Syria’s longtime demand that Israel concede the Golan Heights in advance of talks. Moallem was following up on comments a day earlier by Assad, who urged Olmert to “take a chance” and “discover if we are bluffing or not.” Assad also offered to help America restore stability in Iraq.

Olmert replied, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, by questioning Assad’s motives in reaching out just “after the Baker report was published in Washington” — calling for talks with Syria — and “after Bush made a strong statement,” rejecting it. In effect, Olmert was asking, how dare Assad offer to patch things up when that’s what James Baker and growing numbers of Americans want? Where would that leave Bush?

In case his meaning wasn’t clear, Olmert spelled it out bluntly: “At a time when the president of the United States, Israel’s most important ally, with whom we have a network of strategic relations — when he is fighting in every arena, both at home in America, in Iraq and in other places in the world, against all the elements that want to weaken him — is this the time for us to say the opposite?”

And forget AIPAC as part of an Israeli conspiracy. AIPAC does not represent Israel. AIPAC represents the neo-cons. AIPAC does not take instructions from Israel. AIPAC does not give a damn about public opinion in Israel.

After all, who did AIPAC cheer the loudest? Netenyahu or Olmert?

Another Forward article: Bush’s Cheerleaders (Mar 2006)

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who, like the two other candidates for prime minister in Israel’s coming election, spoke on a video link from Jerusalem, was cheered enthusiastically when he called for building “an iron wall” around Hamas. Labor leader Amir Peretz and Kadima’s candidate, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, were not as warmly received, as they talked about a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Olmert spoke about unilaterally redrawing Israel’s border in the West Bank through further pullouts, and received polite applause. Former premier Netanyahu, however, was cheered enthusiastically when he spoke about the need to push the West Bank security fence eastward, deeper into the Palestinian territory, to create a broader buffer against Palestinian terrorism.

[…] Aipac also appears to be out of step with the American Jewish community on Iraq. Like many other American Jewish organizations, it supported the Iraq war. But 70% of American Jews oppose the Iraq war, according to a poll commission by the American Jewish Committee at the end of 2005.

AIPAC is a neo-con front. It does not represent Jews or Israel.

Just look how wrong the cheerleaders at AIPAC called the last Israeli election: Likud got just 12 MKs

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