Of all people, it is Dennis Ross who comes to Netanyahu’s aid

Posted: March 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

800px-Dennis_RossLaura Rozen has an excellent story in Politico.com on the internal battle in the administration regarding how to approach the Israeli government from now on.

Apperantly, while several people close to special envoy George Mitchell believe that the US must continue putting clear demands before Netanyahu’s extreme-right government in order not only to get some results, but also to restore the administrations credibility in the Arab world, some Oslo veterans, led by Dennis Rose, believe that the White House should avoid steps that might put Netanyahu’s coalition in danger. In other words, Dennis Ross actually thinks that the president of the US should be careful not to agitate Eli Yishay or Avigdor Liberman, because that might make the Israeli government fall.

This is what one of Laura Rosens’ anonymous sources had to say:

“He [Ross] seems to be far more sensitive to Netanyahu’s coalition politics than to U.S. interests… and he doesn’t seem to understand that this has become bigger than Jerusalem but is rather about the credibility of this Administration.”

What some saw as the suggestion of dual loyalties shows how heated the debate has become.

Last week, during U.S.-Israeli negotiations during Netanyahu’s visit and subsequent internal U.S. government meetings, the official said, Ross “was always saying about how far Bibi could go and not go. So by his logic, our objectives and interests were less important than pre-emptive capitulation to what he described as Bibi’s coalition’s red lines.”

This development shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who follow Denis Ross closely. While I do think Ross truly whishes end the occupation and advance the two state solution, he is clearly a man living in the past, and his involvement in the Oslo process might stand in the way of his better judgment. He blames the Palestinians and the Palestinians only for the failure to reach peace in the end of the previous decade, and consequently, believes that the US must apply constant pressure on the Arab side in order to get results. This was the exact attitude taken by the Bush administration, and anyone can see where it got us.

Ross dedicated a chapter of his recent book, Statecraft, to the steps which should be taken by the US in order to promote a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinian. His ideas would have won him praises in the AIPAC convention, as they all deal with ways to deal with the Palestinian side. The only thing the administration have to do with regards to Israel, according to Ross, is declare its commitment to the two state solution – something even George W Bush didn’t have a problem saying.

Reading this book, I got the feeling the Denis Ross thinks that the Israeli PM is still Yitzhak Rabin. The notion that US policy should fall in line with a government ran by radical nationalists like Liberman and Yishay is so absurd, that I don’t even understand how he rationalizes it for himself. As Gidon Levi wrote today in Haaretz, President Obama did better service for both Israelis and Palestinians in the last two weeks than any other politician in the last decade. We should all pray he doesn’t let Denis Ross disrupt him.