Cutting Israel in Half Over Time

The US is dictating policy to Israel and the Israeli government is issuing bland assurances that should have Israel's supporters in the US rather concerned, if only they knew about them.

David Bedein,

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credit David Michael Cohen
This past weekend, two contradictory stories appeared on the front pages of Israel's daily newspapers concerning whether or not the US government is indeed pressuring Israel to allow for "safe passage" of Palestinian Arab vehicle convoys to travel from Gaza to Hebron or to Ramallah in the West Bank.

Hilary Krieger, writing for the Jerusalem Post, indicated that there is "no pressure" from the American government in this regard, relying on information from the Israeli prime minister's media adviser, Raanan Gissin, who said that "there's no pressure" on Israel from the United States. In her Jerusalem Post story of Friday, December 9th, 2005, Krieger quoted Gissin as saying that the convoys issue would only be taken up after Palestinian Authority action against terror: "The whole discussion of operating this new arrangement will be delayed until the Palestinian Authority is serious about fighting terror," he told the Jerusalem Post.

However, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, in a headline on Sunday morning, December 11th, written by Akiva Eldar, indicates that the US government has given an ultimatum to Israel to open up the "safe passage" for Palestinian Arab vehicle convoys by this coming Thursday. The US government has also enlisted the backing of the "Quartet" of the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, along with the World Bank. Eldar reports that the World Bank, adding its support to this ultimatum, places the onus on Israel for the economic crises facing the population in Gaza because the "safe passage" has not been opened.

So, who do you rely on: Krieger or Eldar? My bet is on Eldar, even though Krieger is a reliable staff writer for the Jerusalem Post.

Eldar, on the other hand, is a senior political writer who, in the mid-nineties, was a Ha'aretz correspondent in Washington. He gained expertise over the years on American-Israeli relations. In addition, Eldar has benefited from research grants from the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, headed by former US consul in Jerusalem Mr. Phillip Wilcox.

In other words, the US is dictating policy to Israel and the Israeli government is issuing bland assurances that should have Israel's supporters in the US rather concerned, if only they knew about them.

It is as if the US government is not paying attention to the daily mortar attacks that now emanate from Gaza, and to the overall reality that the PLO has never cancelled its declaration of war with the state and people of Israel, as is still embodied in the PLO covenant, which has never been amended.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Mark Regev would not comment on the Eldar article. However, unlike the prime minister's spokesman, Regev declined to repeat the assurance that Israel is not under pressure from the US. Regev instead said emphatically that the Israeli foreign minister told the US government envoy C. David Welch that "Israel cannot be expected to do anything of this sort while the Palestinians have not taken care of their terrorist infrastructure."

In other words, US pressure is on. Israel's friends in the US need to know this immediately.




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