Saturday, February 17, 2007

Does America Want a Real Peace Process

by Eugene Bird, CNI Foundation

The unreal testimony given by three members of the Israel Lobby before the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia the House Committee on Foreign Affairs indicates that we have a long way to go before Congress, under the new Democratic majority, is able to shed its anti-Palestinian robes. The lengthy hearing called by the subcommittee chairman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) could properly be described as a Valentine Day massacre of peace in the Middle East.

The Administration and even many members of Congress seem aware that the problem that Israel poses to the reputation of the United States throughout the world demands some immediate attention. Will it get that attention? The subcommittee hearing indicates otherwise.


The subcommittee has promised to have further hearings on the Middle East and the Israel-Palestine issue with the implicit promise that some actual, real Palestinians might be invited to testify for only the second time in 15 years. Everyone should be alerted and come down hard on the members of the subcommittee to see to it that this promise is fulfilled and that a fair hearing is held. Ackerman, the highly pro-Israel chairman, did ask a surprisingly frank question of the three witnesses, which also included former Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk and the somewhat ridiculous academic Daniel Pipes. Ackerman said that the testimony had been very depressing with little or no optimism about where negotiations could go. What, he asked, did they have in mind for getting out of this situation, inferring that both the U.S. and Israel were in deep trouble. There was no real response to this question, except to insist that Hamas recognize Israel and foreswear violence.


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