Eliott Abrams Says Rice’s Push For Mideast Peace Is ‘Just Process’

| Forward, Fri. May 11, 2007

Eliott Abrams Says Rice’s Push For Mideast Peace Is ‘Just Process’

At a regular gathering of Jewish Republicans, sources said, Abrams described President Bush as an “emergency brake” who would prevent Israel from being pressed into a deal; during the breakfast gathering, the White House official also said that a lot of what is done during Rice’s frequent trips to the region is “just process” — steps needed in order to keep the Europeans and moderate Arab countries “on the team” and to make sure they feel that the United States is promoting peace in the Middle East…

Nationally syndicated columnist Robert Novak accused Abrams of preventing the administration from having a “coherent Middle East policy” which would engage Iran and Syria in an attempt to stabilize Iraq. “I do know that there are a number of Israelis who would like to engage Syria,” Hagel told Novak. “They have said that Elliott Abrams keeps pushing them back.”

Foreign ministers, ambassadors and former Americans officials as saying they believe Abrams “is making policy in the Middle East.” Israel, according to sources close to decision-makers in Jerusalem, also sees Abrams as the leading policy figure in the administration on Middle East issues, a status that has led Olmert to keep an open channel of communications with Bush’s senior adviser. According to the sources, Abrams is also a leading voice in trying to convince American Jews to be more supportive of the war in Iraq….

Comments (20)


1. Akbar Palace said:

Joshua,

“Rice’s Push”. For the past 30 years, I’ve heard about “pushes”. Clinton’s Push, Albright’s Push, Baker’s Push, Chistopher’s Push, Bush’s Push, Carter’s Push, blah, blah, blah.

The US should stop wasting her time “pushing” and start helping those that ask for our help.

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May 11th, 2007, 12:20 am

 

2. norman said:

Apparently ,Some people in the administration are working to destroy Israel and the Mideast and to advance the agenda of the extremists of continuous war to defeat the US and destabilize the region.

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May 11th, 2007, 1:43 am

 

3. norman said:

“فتح الإسلام”: مقتل أربعة على يد السلطات السورية حاولوا دخول العراق

أعلنت جماعة “فتح الإسلام” ,التي تقول إنها مرتبطة بتنظيم القاعدة, أن السلطات السورية قتلت أربعة من أعضائها ,إثنان منهم قياديان, كانو يحاولون عبور الحدود السورية باتجاه العراق, وهددت بالانتقام.

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May 11th, 2007, 1:52 am

 

4. Akbar Palace said:

Some people in the administration are working to destroy Israel and the Mideast…

Norman,

I see. So if the US supports Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran and Syria Israel and the ME will be saved. Makes sense to me.

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May 11th, 2007, 2:48 am

 

5. Enlightened said:

Elliot’s words verbatim are “The US administration is not interested in peace, we will gladly for go peace for the current staus quo, more death more mayhem, more strife , more chaos”

Akbar is this what Israel really needs or wants? Are Israels interests really served by this? Or is this the only alternative at the moment! It seems we are only waiting for more misery and mayhem.

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May 11th, 2007, 3:22 am

 

6. Joshua said:

Give the Arab Peace Initiative a Chance
By FUAD SINIORA
New York Times op-ed
Published: May 11, 2007
Beirut

ALMOST a year has passed since Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon, time enough to draw lessons from the conflict and reflect on its consequences.

Last week, Israel’s Winograd Commission published an interim report scrutinizing Israel’s conduct during what it called the country’s most recent military “campaign.” But the report failed to draw the most essential lesson from the July war and the wars that preceded it: military action does not give the people of Israel security. On the contrary, it compromises it. The only way for the people of Israel and the Arab world to achieve stability and security is through a comprehensive peace settlement to the overarching Arab-Israeli conflict.

It is in this vein that participants in the March Arab League summit in Riyadh called again for a peace proposal originally put forward at a similar gathering in Beirut in 2002. The Arab Peace Initiative, as it is called, was introduced by Saudi Arabia and endorsed by all the Arab countries. It offers Israel full recognition by the 22 members of the Arab League in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal to its pre-1967 borders, thus allowing the Palestinians to create a viable independent state on what is only 22 percent of historic Palestine.

This is a high price but one the Arabs are willing to pay, as it is the only realistic path to peace that conforms to all United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions addressing the conflict, and ensures the right of return of the Palestinian people. The Arab states are not seeking to wipe Israel off the map. Rather, we are seeking the legitimate goals of an armistice, secure borders and the ability of all of the region’s people to live in peace and security.

Last summer’s war was only the latest eruption of violence in this enduring conflict, and hindered prospects for peace rather than creating opportunities for it. The Winograd interim report criticized the Israeli government’s war goals as being unclear and unachievable, yet the Israeli Army came dangerously close to achieving the stated goal of its chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz: to “turn Lebanon’s clock back 20 years.”

The report made no mention of the sheer damage inflicted. Lebanon’s airports, bridges and power plants were systematically ravaged. Villages were destroyed, and more than an eighth of its population displaced. The bombardment caused an estimated $7 billion in damage and economic losses while leaving behind 1.2 million cluster bomblets that continue to kill and maim innocent people.

Most important, the war took the lives of more than 1,200 Lebanese citizens, the vast majority of them civilians. This epitomizes the protracted injustice Arabs feel as a result of Israel’s record of destruction of their lives and livelihood, its oppression of the Palestinian people and its continued illegal occupation of Arab lands. The July war proved that militarism and revenge are not the answer to instability; compromise and diplomacy are.

This should be the impetus for Israel to seek a comprehensive solution based on the Arab Peace Initiative. The Winograd Commission’s failure to discuss the war’s implications for peace prospects leads one to wonder whether Israel would rather allow this conflict to fester as long as it is under relatively controlled conditions. Its goal should be regional peace and security, which can be realized only through a just resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The inevitable alternative is increased extremism, intolerance and destruction.

Like the Israelis, the Arab people have legitimate security concerns, as evidenced by what Lebanon endured last summer. So often we have seen parties to the conflict use force in the name of self-defense and security, only to further aggravate the situation and compromise the very security they seek. These escalations also occur because there has never been full compliance with international law. Thus, illegal occupations, over-flights, detentions, house demolitions, humiliating checkpoints, attacks and counterattacks continue to heighten the anger and despair. Perpetuating hostility and distrust in this manner goes against the tide of confidence-building this region needs to foster stability. The conflict has persisted for so long, generating so many tangled consequences, that diplomacy remains the only option.

Because of its unique role in the world, the United States has a responsibility to display leadership and courage in helping the two sides achieve a just and lasting peace. The people of the Middle East aspire simply to live in freedom and dignity, without constant threats of violence, occupation and war. This is achievable if we demonstrate political will and learn the harsh lessons from the past. Leading these peace efforts is not only an American responsibility, it is in the United States’ interests: peace in the Middle East would offer a gateway to reconciliation with the Muslim world during these times of increased divisiveness and radicalism.

The Winograd Commission tried to draw conclusions about the Israeli political and military leadership from their actions during the July war. The correct lesson is that the only path to long-lasting peace is itself peaceful. With the support of the United States and its partners in the Quartet on the Middle East — the European Union, the United Nations and Russia — we hope to use the Arab Peace Initiative as the foundation to finally bring about a comprehensive peace to our troubled region. Only then will the people of the Middle East be able to finally realize their shared goal of living in freedom with security and lasting peace.

Fuad Siniora is the prime minister of Lebanon.

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May 11th, 2007, 5:25 am

 

7. SimoHurtta said:

president would ensure that the process does not lead to Israel being pushed into an agreement with which it is uncomfortable.

It would be interesting to know what Israel sees for a not “uncomfortable agreement”. Probably keeping much of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The bad thing is that that would be an uncomfortable agreement for Palestinians and Arab countries.

If US President wants two a two state solution in earnest it is high time to define what that other state would look like in area and borders. Avoiding that central question will not make the negotiation process any easier. So far the US led Israel Palestinian peace process has been like the occupation in Iraq. Nobody in the administration seems to know what is the real goal and nobody cares how it could be achieved. If Bush doesn’t know what the other state in reality will look like, they could stop wasting time of speaking about it.

Elliott Abrams’ comments reveal that USA is not the right broker in that peace process. If the broker is so committed to the other sides interests and despises the other side, how can there be any real process? Giving weapons to a fragment (Fatah) of the other side is hardly keeping peace process on the move.

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May 11th, 2007, 6:30 am

 

8. Craig said:

Enlightened,

Elliot’s words verbatim are “The US administration is not interested in peace, we will gladly for go peace for the current staus quo, more death more mayhem, more strife , more chaos”

I don’t even need to ask you where that quote came from. I can tell just looking at it that you fabricated it. Do you really believe people are that stupid? Or are the people you are used to dealing with, that stupid?

Joshua, why do you let people say things like that on your blog without correcting them? You’re supposed to be some kind of intellectual “observer” in all this, right? Or do you have an agenda?

By the way, your “paraphrasing” in the post looks very strange. You had Novak making a statement and then you had Hagel come out of nowhere and finish the statement, which he was making to Novak. Which was it? If it was Chuck Hagel, I can well understand why he’s saying things like that… he’s either on somebody’s payroll or he’s lost his marbles. He’s been saying some crazy stuff the last 3 or 4 years. If it was Novak, that’s something completely different.

As for the content of the post… Abrams was correct. What the US is doing is “just process”. And, when a new administration comes to power in 2008, what they do will also be “just process”. If and when there are Palestinians who are interested in peace, and not just in getting concessions, then maybe there will be a feasible peace plan.

And I doubt there are many people in the US who would be comfortable with the US “engaging” Syria (or Iran) – despite your personal best efforts. They are not our friends. We can’t allow them to blackmail us over Iraq. A better alternative is to make sure they feel some pain, when they cause us pain. And if it escalates instead of scaling back, we’ll see what is to be done, then. I suspect our capacity to dispense pain surpasses theirs by quite a lot. Or, they could just back the fuck off. But that would be just too much to ask, that people behave like decent human beings, wouldn’t it?

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May 11th, 2007, 7:27 am

 

9. Enlightened said:

Craig I was paraphrasing what Elliot Abrams words meant. To an outsider looking into the administrations resolve to solve the Middle east issue, most commentators here would have not mis read it like you did, those were in effect the result of his words.

No, people I talk to here are “Not That Stupid” they know exactly what Elliot said and meant, no fabrications needed, the mans legacy speaks for itself! And speaking of your version of decency you can bite my Arab ass!

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May 11th, 2007, 8:01 am

 

10. Craig said:

most commentators here would have not mis read it like you did, those were in effect the result of his words.

If “most commentators here” don’t have a problem with you fabricating a statement and then putting it in the mouth of a US government offical, then with all due respect… the commentators here suck ass.

US Policy is as I stated it. Not as you claim Elliot Abrams Stated it. And the current US policy is entirely the result of past events. That’s why the policy won’t change until the situation on the ground changes. If it ever does. It has nothing to do with Elliott Abrams, George Bush, AIPAC or anything else you’d care to blame it on. This BS you are spouting just serves to ensure that the cycle of violence will continue, because it confuses the issue and puts blame wheer it doesn’t belong.

And please note, the above is my opinion and mine alone. Elliott Abrams did not say that 😛

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May 11th, 2007, 10:49 am

 

11. Craig said:

PS:

Elliot’s words verbatim

Might wanna check a dictionary. Pretty sure “verbatim” means “word for word”. An exact quote. Not the same thing as paraphrasing. Not even close. And since the commentators here are not stupid, according to you, they knew that and interpreted our comment the same way I did.

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May 11th, 2007, 10:52 am

 

12. Ford Prefect said:

Let’s see who Elliott Abrams is. A convicted felon who plead guilty to two counts of lying to Ccongress during the Iran Contra affairs.

He is in the company of other felons like Oliver North and other mentally-misconfigured bigots who believe democracy is installable by force and that Israel can establish peace only through brutal military force. We are now seeing how succcessful these dangerous thoughts are.

In 1982, when thousands were being killed by Nicaraguan death squads (does that remind anyone of what is happening today in Iraq?), Abrams told Congress that reports of the mass killings were “not credible.”

No matter how badly someone can misquote Abrams, the mind of this ape-descedent life form is even worse. Go ahead, Elightened, interpret away.

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May 11th, 2007, 11:47 am

 

13. norman said:

AP ,
Continuous war is going to lead to the destruction of Israel on the long run and make roads to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism which is dangerous for everybody.

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May 11th, 2007, 12:46 pm

 

14. Observer said:

I think there is a cabal to advance the agenda of the Likudniks using the US as a proxy for Israel’s war. A paper in the 1980’s in the Jewish publication “Directions” by Ynion stated clearly that the aim of the state of Israel is to divide the Arab states into ethnic and religious enclaves starting with Lebanon and subsequently moving on to Iraq. It also included Jordan Saudi Arabia Syria and Egypt. It clearly defined the demographic threat to the unique Jewish nature of the state and advocated massive expulsion of the Palestinian population into Jordan. The Jordanian monarchy would be installed in Iraq after the removal of Saddam and if that did not occur, then Iraq would be divided. In a prescient description it said that Iraq would be divided into three regions with Basra Baghdad and Mosul as the three provinces’ capitals. In Lebanon, 5 regions would be established based on the religious make up of the country. Shortly thereafter, the Likudnik group in the Neo con circles established the Project for the New American Century and wrote letters to several administrations requesting removal of Saddam from power. This dovetailed with the paper done on behalf of then prime minister Netenyahu entitled ” A clean break: strategy to secure the realm”. In this paper, a belligerent Israel would abrogate the Oslo accord, refuse all UN resolutions based on land for peace, and use military force to create facts on the ground.Many of the intellectuals of this school of thought do not believe in the sanctity of nation states and would want to get rid of the Westphalian world view. Many believe in the exceptionalism of the American role in the world and in a post 9/11 world found their home with an administration that was ripe for the picking. Elliot Abrams, David Wumser, Paul Wolfwoitz, Richard Perle, William Safire, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, Douglas Feith, Scooter Libby, Lynne and Liz Cheney, Khalilzad, Cheney, Woosley, Indyk, Ross are all in this cabal. The idea is to establish the state of Israel as regional superpower and insure not only that no one challenges it, but all are subservient to it. When the project failed in Lebanon, it got moved into Iraq using the US as proxy. Patrick Buchanan put it well, saying that the most vociferous voice in advocating a war on Iraq were the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States. As usual anyone that dares to bring these facts to the debate would be accused of the usual slander to silence the debate.

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May 11th, 2007, 2:04 pm

 

15. Enlightened said:

Ford Prefect:

Obviously you know the score and you said it best I although i think even the Apes would not claim him as a descendent, Abrams is a low life of the highest denomination, those among you here would know his history, with out elaborating further.

Craig you migh opine that most commentators here suck, but they really understand US policy in the Middle East and how severly unfair it is, and then tell us , US Policy

“If it ever does. It has nothing to do with Elliott Abrams, George Bush, AIPAC or anything else you’d care to blame it on. This BS you are spouting just serves to ensure that the cycle of violence will continue, because it confuses the issue and puts blame wheer it doesn’t belong.”

Yes craig the Us is a peace loving country we all know. It is very wrong of us to blame the violence in Iraq on the US because of people like Abrams, and secondly it is unfair of us to accept the palestinian situation, because of the Us very fair policy, wake up dude, and get real you reap what you sow thats what they say in the mid west dont they?

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May 11th, 2007, 11:10 pm

 

16. Enlightened said:

Blessed are the peace makers (neo cons) for they shall inherit the earth

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May 12th, 2007, 12:03 am

 

17. Akbar Palace said:

Patrick Buchanan put it well, saying that the most vociferous voice in advocating a war on Iraq were the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States. As usual anyone that dares to bring these facts to the debate would be accused of the usual slander to silence the debate.

Observer,

Obviously you and Pat Buchanan have brought “these facts to the debate” and haven’t suffered for it. What’s the big deal? You both “dare” and suffer no consequence.

The point is you’re both wrong. The “most vociferous voice advocating war on Iraq” wasn’t “Jews”, wasn’t the “Israeli Defence Ministry”, and wasn’t the “Amen Corner”. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Tenet, do not fit in your imagined categories.

The “Amen Corner” you are referring to could be considered the UN and the 16 nations that voted unanimously for UNSC Resolution 1441 (which included Baathist Syria) and the American people, who were ready to throw the beloved terrorist and ME troublemaker to the dogs.

Considering the way things are going with Iran, the same “Amen Corner” may want to take the same action against Iran. I guess we’ll have to see how that flies in the UN. With France turning conservative (no one has explained to me why this has happened, especially now), that may not be far off.

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May 14th, 2007, 11:50 am

 

18. Ford Prefect said:

Akbar,
With all due respect, and after all of the failures in Iraq and Afganistan, do you really think that “same actions against Iran” would work? Please, how many innocent lives must we endure before we figure out that there is no military solution to the problems of the Middle East?

Enlightened, yes, the history f those recycled “Reagan” criminals and felons in this administration is appauling. It is not that they are just dealing with trade or commerce issues (which would have been bad enough), they are making policies that are causing the carnage we see today. What a shame.

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May 14th, 2007, 1:49 pm

 

19. Jason said:

A just process? Hardly. US peace delegations to the Middle East are PR stunts. The US is not committed to peace in the region. The delegations are carried out simply for the US to say “we’re committed to a peace process.” One should not analyze what the Bush Administration, or any past US Administration, says…simply look at what the US does in the region. Peace is hardly the goal. Is Rice preaching Democracy in Egypt anymore? No. The US wants “friendly” regimes, the US couldn’t care less about peace of humanity in the ME. A simple example, the Palestinians voted for Hamas. Israel withholds tax revenues and the US attempts to punish the people! What humanity! If you agree with the US you’re praised a great ally, if you don’t, you’re a terrorist, extremist or fundamentalist. This is a dangerous policy for the US.

The US hails the “spreading democracy” policy as the answer for peace. How can they possibly believe this? Spreading democracy is dangerous for US interests in the long term. Sparking the thought of democracy will only motivate the opposition groups even more. The fact is, these groups that are “enemies” of the US would love democracies in the ME. US policies are counter-productive. Maybe I’m wrong, but, to me, this seems like a simple analysis.

The problems and solutions are clear. Israel will never have peace until the occupied territories are no longer occupied. The land-for-peace argument is sometimes missused to justify Israel’s peace strategy. But land comes before peace. Almost all Arab regimes support a peace agreement with Israel based on Israel returning to the 1976 border. Why is this never brought up in debates? Because the US and Israel do not want a withdrawal from the occupied territories! The US vetod this policy at the UN in 2001 (or 2002? my date could be wrong).

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May 14th, 2007, 3:29 pm

 

20. Akbar Palace said:

Ford Prefect advised –

With all due respect, and after all of the failures in Iraq and Afganistan, do you really think that “same actions against Iran” would work? Please, how many innocent lives must we endure before we figure out that there is no military solution to the problems of the Middle East?

FP –

Thank you for the “due respect”, now to answer your questions.

If we assume “there is no military solution” to Islamic terrorism, then, in essence, Islamic terrorism would have succeeded in their effort to conduct their own foreign policy. Recall, 9-11 occurred prior to Bush sending troops both to Afghanistan AND Iraq.

BTW, the pundits are mostly in agreement that 9-11 occurred because when Bush got into office, his administration decided to stay out of the ME peace business. The terrorists, thus, wanted to “call” Bush back. OTOH, the “Magnificient 20” were busy years before we knew who won the 2000 election.

My opinion: It doesn’t matter. With or w/o a ME peace process, Islamic terrorists will be planning attacks against their enemies, and their “modus operandi” will continue to be small cells with no traceability to any government or organization.

So, if there is no “military solution”, any perceived injustice against “Islam” will be a cause for the jihadists to kill innocent people. There is no negotiating with them. And the US and the rest of the West is not going to negotiate with a bunch of murderous cry-babies. (you can scratch the “rest of the West”).

Therefore, the simplest thing to do, is to militarily engage and confront those governments that support these thugs: Iran, Syria, and couple of other states including the Saudi and Palestinian theocracy. Without support, the jihadist movement would deflate as fast as an over-pressurized balloon.

Lastly, whether or not you agree that the US has won, has lost, is losing or is winning the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, it doesn’t matter. The US MUST win this war because it has been imposed on us by terrorists who will not stop at anything. Unfortunately, the US will be dealing with the Islamic terrorist threat WELL into the future. And the longer the US and the West waits, the more powerful the jihadists will become. It’s pay now or pay later.

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May 14th, 2007, 8:56 pm

 

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