March 25, 2008

America and Israel: "The Cheney Model"

March 25, 2008 - Jerusalem Post - "US Vice President Richard Cheney is not known for making flamboyant speeches, but sometimes less is more. If the US had limited itself to the gist of what Cheney said in Jerusalem on Saturday night, and to elaborating in this same spirit, it is likely that the prospects for peace and moderation in this region would be substantially greater.

Standing with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Cheney opened by noting Israel's 60th anniversary and calling "the state of Israel's rise out of the ashes of World War II… one of history's great miracles." He also found it remarkable that "Israel has survived these six decades, despite often violent assaults against its very existence."

Then, in what was perhaps his key observation, Cheney noted that: "History has clearly shown that when encountered by Arab partners like Anwar Sadat and the late King Hussein of Jordan, who accepted Israel's permanence, and are willing and capable of delivering on their commitments, Israelis are prepared to make wrenching national sacrifices on behalf of peace. I have no doubt this is equally the case with Palestinians." Much of this may seem so basic as to be banal. But the pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace is not really built on these basic premises, even as practiced most of the time by the US, let alone Europe and the United Nations.

There are, it should be understood, two basic models for looking at the conflict, each of which leads to different policy approaches. The standard model is that Arabs and Israelis have been fighting for years and that blame for perpetuation of the conflict lies with both sides, or perhaps mainly with Israel, since Israel is the "occupying power" and the Palestinians are seeking independence within land held by Israel." (article continues)

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