Give Annapolis a Chance?
The word from Jerusalem.
An NRO Q&A
November 26, 2007, 0:30 p.m
In preparing for the Mideast conference in Annapolis, Maryland, this week,
Jerusalem Post columnist and deputy managing editor Caroline Glick took some
questions from National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez Monday morning.
Glick, a senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy, is
author of the upcoming book (March), The Shackled Warrior: Israel and the
Global Jihad. All Glick clicks are available at www.carolineglick.com.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: Is there anything good to come out of Annapolis?
Caroline Glick: It is hard to see any positive outcome from the Annapolis
conference. Some have argued that the conference will make clear the
distinction between states interested in peace and states uninterested in
peace. But it is far from clear why this is the case. Indeed, one of the
basic flaws inherent in the Annapolis conference, and indeed in Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice’s recent frenetic pursuit of Palestinian statehood is
the complete absence of moral distinctions between states committed to the
ideals of peace, freedom, and fighting terror and those committed to jihad,
tyranny, and hatred.
To take just the most obvious example of Rice’s moral equivalence, she
upholds Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister
Salam Fayad as moderates who seek peaceful coexistence with Israel. Yet the
fact is that neither Abbas nor Fayad have taken any steps that could be
considered conducive to peace. They joined a unity government with Hamas in
March and would have remained Hamas’s junior partner in that Saudi-brokered
governing arrangement had Hamas not decided to oust Fatah forces from Gaza
in June. Fayad has continued to pay the salaries of the Iranian-trained
Hamas army in Gaza since the terror group’s takeover of the area just as he
pays the salaries of Fatah terrorists in the West Bank.
In addition to his position as political leader of the Palestinian
Authority, Abbas is also the head of the Fatah terror organization. Due to
its reputation as a secular terror group, the U.S. State Department upholds
Fatah as a credible partner in peace talks with Israel. But this strains
credulity. Since the onset of the Palestinian jihad against Israel in
September 2000, Fatah has carried out more terror attacks against Israeli
targets than either Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Just last week Fatah terrorists
murdered 29-year-old Ido Zoldan.
In spite of Fatah’s moderate reputation, the fact is that Fatah terror cells
in the West Bank are bankrolled by Iran and its Hezbollah proxy. Its
operatives are directed by Tehran no less than Hamas and Islamic Jihad
But in the interests of bringing about the declaration of a sovereign state
of Palestine, Rice and her associates are advancing policies that smack of
moral dementia. They insist that Israel make security concessions to Fatah,
release Fatah terrorists from prison, and arm Fatah militias. They insist
that Israel transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to Abbas’s bank
accounts in the interest of promoting peace in spite of the fact that Abbas
and Fayad transfer those funds to Hamas and Fatah terror operatives.
And just as the Bush administration is now treating Palestinian terrorists
with deference while treating Israel abusively, so too, it is expending
American political capital and prestige to woo oppressive, anti-American,
pro-jihadist regimes like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Perversely, rather than
thank the Americans for taking Israel to task as they have demanded, the
Saudis forced the Bush administration to beg and genuflect to them before
agreeing to participate in the conference. And that participation too was
conditioned on US willingness to embrace the so-called Saudi plan for Middle
East peace from 2002. The Saudi demand and the American willingness to
accept it tells the entire tale of the moral and strategic failure of the
Annapolis conference. The Saudi plan demands an Israeli withdrawal to the
indefensible 1949 armistice lines, an Israeli acceptance of millions of
hostile foreign Arabs as citizens within its truncated borders and an
Israeli renunciation of sovereignty over all of Judaism’s sacred sites in
Jerusalem. Once Israel implements all of these demands, the Saudi plan
states that the Arab world will take steps towards having regular relations
with it. That is, the Saudi plan which the U.S. included in the terms of
reference for the conference is a plan for Israel’s destruction.
In light of all of this, it is hard to foresee anything good coming from
Lopez: Is there any sense in inviting Syria?
Glick: Apologists for the Annapolis conference claimed that the conference
would mobilize the Arab world to the U.S.’s side and so build a coalition of
Arab states opposed to Iran and its nuclear ambitions. It is hard to see how
the invitation of Syria jibes with this assertion. To the contrary, by
inviting Syria, the U.S. strengthens Iran and weakens any possibility that
the Arab world would organize against the mullahs.
In 2006, Syria signed a formal military alliance with Iran. Iran is
bankrolling the Syrian military and secret police. On September 6, the
Israeli air force reportedly destroyed a North Korean-built nuclear
installation in Syria. Iran was reportedly also involved in the project. The
attack occurred two months after Syrian and Iranian forces were killed when
the chemical warhead they were attempting to install on a North Korean-built
ballistic missile accidentally exploded.
Presently, Iran and Syria are working with Hezbollah to destabilize Lebanon,
overthrow the Siniora government and assert full control over the country.
To this end they engaged in a systematic campaign of assassinating
anti-Syrian parliamentarians over the past year. And to this end they are
preventing the Lebanese parliament from electing a new president.
By inviting Syria to Annapolis, the U.S. essentially is sending the message
that it sees nothing in Syria’s behavior to remove it from the club of
responsible nations and legitimate governments. By inviting Syria to
Annapolis this week, when Lebanon’s future hangs in the balance, the U.S. is
rewarding Syria’s criminal behavior. Regardless of what Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may say about Syrian participation at Annapolis it is
hard to imagine that he is upset by it.
Will the U.S. invitation do anything to induce Syria to improve its behavior
or accept Israel as its neighbor? Absolutely not.
Lopez: All things being what they are: If there’s a single good that can
come of this conference, what would you urge the U.S. that it be?
Glick: The only good thing that can come from this conference is that
President George W. Bush recognizes the harm that Rice is doing to the U.S.’s
national-security interests by undermining the Bush doctrine. From the
six-party talks with North Korea to her bizarre and dangerous decision to
attempt to appease Iran by holding talks with the millenarian theocracy in
Iraq; supporting the EU’s failed nuclear diplomacy and authorizing the U.N.
Security Council to (mis)handle Iran’s nuclear-weapons program; to her
seeming obsession with establishing a pro-Iranian, jihadist Palestinian
state before the end of the Bush presidency; to her unpardonable neglect of
Iraq, Rice has taken a knife to everything Bush has staked his presidency
If the failure of Annapolis causes the president to distance himself from
Rice and end her foreign-policy supremacy, then in retrospect, the
conference may have been worth the effort.
Lopez: What’s the Bush legacy in the Mideast likely going to be?
Glick: If Bush reins in his appeasement-mongering secretary of State and
returns to the guidelines for U.S. foreign policy that he set out in his
first term, then his will be a revolutionary legacy of freedom in the Middle
East. The promising situation in Iraq, if allowed to progress will indeed
bring about the first Arab democracy. Were the president to liberate the
Palestinians from the tyranny of their terror leaders and antagonists in the
Arab world, he could set the conditions for true peace between them and
Israel. If he were to reignite his call for freedom and empowerment of
liberals in the Arab world and if he were to make good on his pledge to
support Iranian democracy activists, he would leave the region and the world
safer, freer and less threatening than he found them when he assumed office.
If, on the other hand, he continues to empower Rice to undermine all he has
fought for his legacy will be one of cowardice, betrayal, and failure.