I’m at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington and am repotting on the first day.
Arrived Sunday AM. First plenary featured the (Hispanic) Mayor of LA and an African American Detroit Minister both articulating their great support for Israel. Then a panel featured Former CIA Director Woolsley, Congresswoman Jane Harmon of Calif., IDF Air Force Head etc.
Woolsey-every president since Carter has tried to engage the Iranans and none have worked. Persians invented chess. Only possibility short of military is very serious sanctions.-cut off their importation of refined petroleum products.
Harmon-Congress has tried actions vis-à-vis Iran for 20 years, has not worked. Favors military option if these don’t work.
IDF Air Force head-Air Force must content with changes in region including nuclear proliferation and radicals taking over nations-Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran. We must contemplate a nuclear Iran’s impact on moderate regimes in region.
Another speaker-we must make oil what salt has become. Before refrigeration, wars were fought over salt. Now who cares where salt comes from. Goal- make oil irrelevant.
Syria-will NEVER realign from Iran and Hezbolah. It’s a pipedream. Syri is the capital of terrorists.
Pakistan-now has 60-100 nukes . Taliban will probably take it over. That is a far bigger concern now.
One speaker thought a deep disagreement between the USA and Israel on Iran will be the major issue next year at the AIPAC Conference.
A panel on the Palestinians-
David Mikovsky-He believes key now is demarcating the boundaries of the eventual Palestinian state while building Palestinian infrastructure. Show moderation pays or the PA is cooked and Hamas will take over West Bank too.
Unilateralism is flawed-Israel pulled out of Gaza without agreement and missiles flow.
75% of settlers could be absorbed live in 4.4% of the west Bank. Swat land and let them stay. Tell the other 70,000 settlers their land will be Palestine. It will remove a major irritant to USA.
Alternative to Palestinian Authority are not Hadassah ladies so it better work with the PA. PA now handling law and order well, so Israel moved troops in Gaza operation from west bank to Gaza.
Aaron David Miller-former State Dept. advised 6 Sec. of State
“America is failing in the Middle East. Last 16 years have gone backwards in US influence. Solving conflict is unimaginable-Land, Jerussalem, refugees, security.
Since Palestinians have 2 opposed polities and geographies (Gaza under Hamas and W.B. under PA), no Palestinian leader has authority to make a deal. Besides Iran will intrude in process through Hezbollah and Hamas to prevent deal.
Obama has a “yes we can “ atitude as all new administrations do./ Region will say “no you won’t.” For any chance: 1. Leaders must take risks. Like Rabin and Sadat. 2. See the urgency of the matter. 3. See a doable deal.
3 Options: 1. Israel will make no deal with Palestinians till Iran issue is solved or 2. no bold options or 3. Like JFK-idealism without illusions.
Netanyahu’s aid Ron Dermer:
Netanyahu always has been right. Thought 2000 Camp David Barak Arafat meeting would lead to violence because of Barak giving away so much and it did-Intafada 2.
2005 he resigned wek before gaza because believed unilateral pullout would lead to missiles. He was mocked. Called Israel’s prophet of doom. He believes Hezbolah war of 2008 and Gaza fight 2008 were because of Gaza pullout and showing weakness.
He believed his biggest error last time as Prime Minister was no national unity gov. He now has with Barak.
He has warned the world daily for 9 years about Iran, before anyone else.
1996 half of Israel thought he was obstacle to peace-that Israel needs to make more concessions. Today Israel does not believe it.
When PA talks a bout 2 states-they don’t mean one Muslim and one Jewish. They mean 2 Arab with millions of “refugees” flowing into Israel making it majority Arab. Netanyahu will never agree to that (PA must agree one state is Jewish homeland) and never allow Palestinians entity to have army, control air rights and make treaty with Iran. They otherwise can govern themselves.
When Netanyahu PM, only 35 Israelis killed by suicide bombers.
Netanyahu does not think fact that Palestinians will soon outnumber Israelis in Israel is main issue since there are 300 million Arabs around.