Blogs > HNN > On Israel, Iraq and the limits of American power

Apr 9, 2007 1:02 pm

On Israel, Iraq and the limits of American power

Can the US lean on Israel to force the government to abandon the settlements and cut a deal with the Palestinians?

The last US president to try was George H.W. Bush. He cut off loans to Israel in an intense effort to push the Israelis to abandon its aggressive settlement policy.

The political cost for Bush was high. And the Israelis went right ahead anyway doing what they wanted to do.

I have often thought the US could do even more, but now I am not so sure.

Why should we think that we can force a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians when we can't even get the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq to compromise? The US will shortly have 173,000 troops in the country. And we are pouring billions of dollars into the place. And yet not even with all that leverage have we been able in FOUR years to force the Shiites to give the Sunnis enough power to enlist their support in the new government.

There is an obvious lesson here about the limits of American power.

Are we willing to learn it?

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Elliott Aron Green - 5/22/2007

You say that "the Israelis went right ahead..." building settlements. Quite properly so. The effort to stop settlement building in parts of the Jewish National Home was and is, in my view, a form of anti-Jewish racism. If the British hadn't imposed restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchase at the beginning of the Holocaust, then there would have clear Jewish majority in the country in the mid-1940s. The UK violated the Jewish National Home provisions of the League of Nations mandate by those restrictions [part of the 1939 "White Paper on Palestine"]. The League's Permanent Mandates Commission found the UK in violation of the Mandate. However, the legal status of Judea-Samaria-Gaza is still that of the Jewish National Home, since no subsequent act of international law changed it. The partition plan of 29 November 1947 was a mere recommendation as are all General Assembly resolutions on political issues [see UN charter, articles 10-12]. Israel had a perfect legal and moral right to allow Jews to dwell and build homes in those zones of the Jewish National Home taken from Arab occupation in 1967. In any case, stopping Jewish settlement in those areas would not bring peace but encourage Arab irredentists/terrorists. Prez Geo Bush Senior and J Baker were wrong to condemn these settlements.

Stephen Kislock - 4/13/2007

As I said in a Letter to the Editor, I want a President that will put the best interest and security of the United States First!

When I talked of the poor mans air force the "Suicide Bomber" and bombing from 30,000 feet, they are both Deadly and the same!