Ending the Israeli-Palestinian Stalemate and US National Security

January 06, 2005

A Coalition News Conference

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
3:00 PM
National Press Club (Murrow Room)
529 14th St., NW
Washington, DC 20045

Featuring former Ambassador Edward Peck, former Chief of Mission in Baghdad and former deputy director of White House Task Force on Terrorism; William B. Quandt, University of Virginia, former National Security Council staff member; Steven Van Evera, Professor of Political Science at MIT; Michael Desch, Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security Decision-Making at the George Bush School of Government and Politics at Texas A&M University; and Anatol Lieven, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The results of the Palestinian elections, scheduled for January 9, will have major consequences for the prospects for peace in the Middle East, which could do much to advance U.S. interests in the region. On January 12, Middle East and national security experts will explain why it is important for the United States to reengage in the peace process. Ambassador Peck and Professor Quandt, who will observe the Palestinian elections this weekend, will provide first-hand accounts. Desch, Van Evera and Lieven will reflect upon the challenges and benefits of greater U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, a diverse group of scholars, analysts, and former government officials from across the political spectrum, recently published a statement in The Economist outlining how ending the stalemate will enhance U.S. national security. The complete statement can be found on the Coalition's Web site, www.realisticforeignpolicy.org, where additional information about the Coalition can be found.

For further information, please contact Jonathan M. Block, Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy director of media relations.

Jonathan M. Block, director of media relations, 703-200-5748, jblock@realisticforeignpolicy.org

Copyright 2004 - Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy - All rights reserved.

Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy
1200 L Street, NW
Suite 100-221
Washington, DC 20005-4018

Posted by kraabel at January 6, 2005 01:27 PM

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Dear Sirs,

I would like to thank you for the recent posting of your opinions of what I consider to be a vital matter in a recent issue of The Economist. It addressed the all of the ideas that I considered to be important in the resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I was particularly pleased to note that you made reference to the near-agreement at Taba, 2001; and that you did not, as seems to be the custom in the United States, favor the Israeli argument, but maintained an impartial standpoint. I agree that an independent Palestinian state is just as well as necessary. I also agree that the “wall” should be built in the interest of Israeli national security, but should not cut so deeply into the primarily Palestinian territory.

Once again, I must congratulate you on the superb job you have done of outlining what must be done in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. However, I am shocked that one of your main contentions is that a peaceful resolution of the conflict will result in better national security for Americans. While this is true, it should not be chief among your arguments, and making it so simply reiterates the Arab view that Americans are self-absorbed and concerned only with their own security. The peaceable settlement should be encouraged for the prevention of further loss of life and for the emphasis of human rights. The resolution will increase security for the USA, but that should be our secondary or even tertiary priority.

Thank you once again,

Patrick Paterson

Posted by: Patrick Paterson at January 7, 2005 01:59 PM

Dear Sirs,

Your recent advertisement in The Economist was surprising to say the least. It has elicited much criticism for many good reasons, which I will not repeat, but it has yet to be criticised on the most compelling grounds: that you are advocating a policy that does not advance the two principle national interests of the American people that you delineated at the beginning of your article.

You said that the United States had two goals in the Middle East: ensuring a constant supply of oil and forcibly dismantling the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. These are both laudable initiatives but they have nothing to do with Israel.

Let us examine the facts. Osama bin Laden's three principal gripes with the United States at the time of the September 11 atrocity were 1) our support of the anti-Islamist government in Egypt 2) that we had bases in Saudi Arabia, and drum roll please.... 3) the sanctions against Iraq. Israel and her conflict with the Palestinians is notably absent from that list.

Now let's see whether our support of Israel threatens our oil supply. The current real price of oil is slightly below what it was prior to the 1973 price hikes. The price hikes of 1973 hurt the Arab producers more than it hurt us, and here's why: only 10 percent of our oil comes from Arab sources. So their influence over us is relatively limited. Conversely, we buy more than 10 percent of all the oil they sell. In other words, limiting their oil output for ideological reasons hurts them more than us.

In brief, even a precocious child can see that there is nothing "realistic" in pursuing a more active role in the eventual settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Given that our goals in the Middle East are the only two that you mentioned, it is clear that there are far more important forces at work than a small localized conflict. Let them sort it out for themselves, let the United States continue its historic committment to supporting our allies, let the oil flow, and let the terrorist networks be vanquished. Oh, and let the academics do something more productive with their tenure, like genuine scholarship.

All the best,

Matthew Klein

Posted by: Matthew Klein at January 8, 2005 10:41 PM

A big "thank you" to all the signatories of this advertisement for providing such a clear perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian situation. What amazes me is how opponents of your position constantly try to muddy the waters of this discussion and lose the point! The Arab-Israeli conflict will always be a polarizing point of contention and until the United States adopts a completely unbiased position and adjusts its foreign policy to that end, its image and interests abroad will always be threatened.

Posted by: Joe Fopeano at January 10, 2005 11:58 AM

It is with much relief that I have read your brave page in the Economist as I had come to believe the USA had completely lost it. Happily sanity and the ability to empathies with others in the world is still alive where it most matters, the USA. For a long time now everything on that page has needed saying, thank God it has finally been said. Brian Halpin. Manchester. England

Posted by: B. HALPIN at January 12, 2005 08:44 PM

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