Bad News Baker

[New Republic] Yoav Fromer - By incorporating Israel into five of its 79 recommendations, the Iraq Study Group's report has forced Israel into center stage in the Iraq debate. Considering Baker's problematic relationship with the Jewish state, most Israelis shouldn't have been surprised with the proposals. Any way you look at it, Baker-Hamilton spells bad news for Israel. Whether due to wishful thinking or selective memory, the proposal for an "unconditional calling and holding of meetings" in a Madrid-like style, between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the Syrians, disregards a fairly major point: At this point at time, Israelis simply don't have anyone to talk to. Hamas' refusal to accept Israel's existence is not some bump in the road dealt with by parentheses. It's the heart of the problem. The democratically elected Hamas government is in charge - not the moderate Mahmoud Abbas - and, as long as that is the case, this premature call for negotiations would leave Israelis talking to a handful of people who lack a public mandate to implement potential agreements. And, if anyone believes that the Shia and Sunnis are blowing themselves up to free Palestine or avenge the Arab defeat of 1967, they are conveniently forgetting the fact that they had been at it well before Zionism ever came into being.

2006-12-13 01:00:00

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