The Baker-Hamilton Report has been released. We already knew about the approach of appeasement it recommended: Engage Iran and Syria on the issue of Iraq. But there is more. It is not just appeasement, as stupid and shortsighted and dangerous as this is. It is readiness to treat Israel as a dispensable bargaining chip rather than a sovereign and autonomous state with deep security concerns and rights to the land.

This is what Baker is recommending (my emphasis added):

“The White House has been examining a proposal by James Baker to launch a Middle East peace effort without Israel. “The peace effort would begin with a U.S.-organized conference, dubbed Madrid-2, and contain such U.S. adversaries as Iran and Syria. Officials said Madrid-2 would be promoted as a forum to discuss Iraq’s future, but actually focus on Arab demands for Israel to withdraw from territories captured in the 1967 war. They said Israel would not be invited to the conference.

“‘As Baker sees this, the conference would provide a unique opportunity for the United States to strike a deal without Jewish pressure,’ an official said. ‘This has become the most hottest proposal examined by the foreign policy people over the last month.’

“Officials said Mr. Baker’s proposal, reflected in the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, has been supported by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and National Intelligence Director John Negroponte…

“Officials said the Baker proposal to exclude Israel from a Middle East peace conference garnered support in the wake of Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit to Saudi Arabia on November 25. They said Mr. Cheney spent most of his meetings listening to Saudi warnings that Israel, rather than Iran, is the leading cause of instability in the Middle East…

“Under the Baker proposal, the Bush administration would arrange a Middle East conference that would discuss the future of Iraq and other Middle East issues. Officials said the conference would seek to win Arab support on Iraq in exchange for a U.S. pledge to renew efforts to press Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Golan Heights.

“‘Baker sees his plan as containing something for everybody, except perhaps the Israelis,’ the official said. ‘The Syrians would get back the Golan, the Iranians would get U.S. recognition and the Saudis would regain their influence, particularly with the Palestinians.'”

So, if Baker had his way, the US and Arab states would sit around and decide what Israel should do (that is, lay plans for extensive US pressure on Israel to get her to do what the US has agreed to), while Israel would be kept away so as to not be able to protest about her own future. The US would sell Israel down the river to achieve its perceived goals. And everyone but Israel would benefit — or so Baker imagines. In truth, this would only backfire. Weakening Israel and strengthening terrorist forces would not serve the US for more than about 10 minutes. Fools all.

We knew Baker was an enemy of Israel and the Jewish people. This is not news. But clearly, so is Condoleezza Rice, if she thinks this is a good idea. And the absolute audacity of the proposal.


Arguments are made with some frequency that the US is not a friend of Israel — there is much historical evidence for this position and perhaps on another day I will bring it forward; it contains much that is painful and shocking. At this point I concur. There are individuals with power, elected officials, who are friends of Israel. Some people in Congress, neo-Cons, others. But the government? The State Department?

I watched the left wing of the Democratic party push for an isolationist position that would serve us ill here. They were smashingly successful with the election so that no one truly stands against their position now. And then Baker was able to do his “thing,” eager to promote Arab interests and undo Israel. In the meantime, I learned yesterday that officials of the Democratic party have reportedly met with Hamas.


Mr. Bush, I believe, truly knows better. But, shocked by the elections, he has now caved to a considerable degree. I’m reading that he is expressing discomfort with Baker’s idea of dealing with Iran. And he has already said in a press conference with Tony Blair at the White House this evening that everything Baker proposes will not be implemented and that a deal cannot be imposed on Israel and the Palestinians. His better and wiser instincts must be buoyed in every way possible.

But even the president spouts such unmitigated nonsense. Today he said that the cause of a two-state solution has been advanced during his administration, and both sides now recognize the significance of reaching this solution. I hear that and ask myself what planet Mr. Bush is on. Can’t be earth. During the course of his administration Hamas came into power in the PA, and has refused to recognize Israel or renounce terrorism. If Hamas now says it will give Israel a long term hudna (a temporary cessation of hostilities during which time it will prepare for renewed attacks) in place of recognition of Israel, and in return for a Palestinian state, this most decidedly does NOT mean Hamas favors a two-state solution. It means they are figuring out how to get the international community to support them as they proceed in their plans to dismantle Israel.

Can’t be — can it? — that Mr. Bush doesn’t know all of this. He is promoting what sounds good without seriousness.


The bottom line is that the US can agree to anything. The issue is how and when and if we bow to the pressure being applied. We don’t have to, although not bowing takes strength and conviction about our rights here.

It becomes, in the face of this, all the more important that the Olmert gov’t be replaced with a nationalist gov’t with that strength and those strong convictions. Olmert has been trying by various means to give away Judea-Samaria. He is glad to do US bidding on this score — which is why he launched into the so-called “ceasefire.”

But, it must be said for Olmert that he has come out on the right side here today. In a statement in Tel Aviv, he said that there is no linkage between the Iraq issue and what we do here. One of Baker’s proposals is that we give the Golan Heights to Syria, which has been itching for it. Syria, which promotes unrest in Lebanon and helps to arm Hezbollah. This Syria, Baker would appease.

But Olmert says that there will be no Israeli negotiations with Syria for some time to come, and no one can push us to give them the Golan. He believes, said Olmert, that the president is of the opinion that there should be no change in US Syrian policy. The US is a democracy, says Olmert, and this proposal is just one of many afloat, and is “not the American position.”

And if giving Syria the Golan becomes the American position, will Olmert have the strength to resist?


Enough to digest and act on here, more to follow in coming days…


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