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Rice Has Been An Unmitigated Disaster

Israel should release Palestinians prisoners according to a Plan
By Ted Belman
March 13, 2008

Israel should release most of the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners held by them as part of a plan. I say most because the worst ones, I.e. those with “blood on their hands”, must be kept to make a point, namely, that murderers must be held accountable. So what’s the plan? But first, the context.

In December ‘05 the PA set a date for holding elections. At first, Israel wanted to restrict Arab residents in Jerusalem from voting and wanted to prevent Hamas from contesting them. Rice prevailed upon Israel to reverse its position on both matters. The result of the internationally supervised election, was that Hamas won 74 of the 132 seats. Hamas then formed the government and Fatah refused to be part of a coalition government.

This was bad news for the “peace process” because Hamas was adamantly against it.
The US immediately started making plans to overthrow the Hamas government.

Vanity Fair just published The Gaza Bombshell

After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.
After Congress turned down Bush’s request for $86 million to finance this effort, Bush asked the Saudis, who instead brokered the Mecca Accords (Feb ‘07) in an attempt to bring Fatah and Hamas together. Rice was apoplectic.

Hamas reacted to this attempted coup, by a coup of their own and took over Gaza in June ‘07.

David Wurmser accuses the Bush administration of “engaging in a dirty war in an effort to provide a corrupt dictatorship with victory.”
The botched plan has rendered the dream of Middle East peace more remote than ever, but what really galls neocons such as Wurmser is the hypocrisy it exposed. “There is a stunning disconnect between the president’s call for Middle East democracy and this policy,” he says. “It directly contradicts it.”

The US immediately switched gears and began a Westbank first option.

Gaza had 400 functioning factories and workshops at the start of 2007. By December, the intensified Israeli blockade had caused 90 percent of them to close. Seventy percent of Gaza’s population is now living on less than $2 a day.
Israel, meanwhile, is no safer. The emergency pro-peace government called for in the secret Action Plan is now in office—but only in the West Bank. In Gaza, the exact thing both Israel and the U.S. Congress warned against came to pass when Hamas captured most of Fatah’s arms and ammunition—including the new Egyptian guns supplied under the covert U.S.-Arab aid program.

Thus it was clear that the Roadmap was no longer workable so Rice and Livni agreed to change it by discussing final status issues before the end of terror, even if the resulting agreement was only a “shelf agreement”. Presumably, if such an agreement were arrived at, the US would then arrange for the international community to adopt it. But this plan too is not working out because no one wants to compromise. Thus the Annapolis initiative is over.

Now, Michael Wise has suggested a plan. Israel should annex Judea and Samaria, hopefully with US approval, and relocate the prisoners to Gaza. Lest anyone claim that Israel would be pursuing ethnic cleansing, Israel should offer to accept an equal number of peaceful Gazans into Israel and give them Blue cards enabling them to work.

Not only would Israel free itself of the responsibility for their care and feeding and of incessant demands that they be released, she would be giving notice to all would be terrorists in Judea and Samaria that they too will be relocated to Gaza. In order not to separate them from their families, the families should also be relocated to Gaza. Now that’s what I call deterrence.

Rice is responsible for all the failed US initiatives in the conflict which I list here.

- Rice demanded Israel abandon Rafah as part of the disengagement from Gaza. This was contained in the Rafah Agreement which she brokered.
- Rice demanded that Hamas be allowed to contest the elections resulting in its victory.

- Rice embraced Abbas as a great moderate and friend of the US. He has proved anything but.

- Rice engineered the plan to have Dahlan, supported by the US, execute a military coup of the Hamas government resulting in the Hamas coup of Gaza.

- Rice backed the plan to build up the Fatah forces with arms and munitions all of which were seized by Hamas.

- Rice then promoted the coalition of moderates which went nowhere.

- Rice also decided on the Annapolis Initiative that has produced only increased violence.

- Rice demanded Olmert stop the Gaza operations which killed over 100 Gazan, most of whom were terrorists on the basis that she would arrange a ceasefire through Egypt. This too will fail.

Some legacy. Rice has been an absolute and total disaster.

America has run out of options. Bush should declare that the Palestinians haven’t met the preconditions for statehood as set out in his vision speech in 2002 and should abandon his support for a Palestinian state.


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