Washington is being unrealistic in its effort to push the re-set button with Mideast Peace Talks. The Palestinian Authority is no longer a viable partner. We cannot launch a "Hail Mary" pass and revive this diseased and corrupt entity with the promise of an independent Palestinian State in two years. The Palestinian Liberation Organization and its leading force Fatah have lost the support of a majority of Palestinians. Extremist Hamas runs Gaza now and has been making great strides in the West Bank. Pro-Iranian Palestinian cells throughout the territories, along with Hezbollah-controlled south Lebanon, will never allow peace with the "Zionist Entity" to break out.
If you weigh on a scale the benefits derived from the sum total of our agreements with Arab states against the advantages derived from our relationship with Israel, there is no contest: The US imports about 22% of its oil from the Mideast, which includes Iraq as well as Saudi Arabia. Although we are dependent on oil imports, we are diversified. Considering that Israel invests over 75% of what it receives from the US government each year in US military purchases, and the technology that Israel has developed which it shares with the US, this should not even be under discussion.
We have many hi-tech military and non-military joint research and development projects with the Israelis. I witnessed the fruition of more than a few of these projects such as the testing of the Arrow anti-missile system and all kinds of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones), the technology of which has improved our targeting of Islamist terrorists in the Mideast and Southwest Asia.
Yes, it is natural for Americans to feel sympathy for the Palestinian people some whose ancestors were driven from their lands. And we should do our best to relieve their suffering without attempting to bully a valuable ally into acting against its own interest. Moreover, we should pressure their brother Arab peoples who have done little besides shedding crocodile tears for the Palestinians.
It fits nicely into our American mythology to be the champion of the underdog. We love David and Goliath stories. We took easily to a re-born Israel defeating the combined armies of its Arab neighbors in her War of Independence. But it seems that Israel has won too many wars to continue to elicit that sympathy from our national psyche.
This latest tempest says more about us than it does about Israel. We are not yet comfortable with Jews who are willing and capable of fighting back. Europe is even less so.
It is perhaps easier to shed a tear about the Holocaust and verbally regret the centuries of ostracism and occasional pogroms the Jews endured than to deal with a stiff-necked ally who does not always do our bidding. When other allies have disagreed with us in public, we seem to turn on them with a vengeance as we did with France when it refused to endorse our invasion of Iraq.
Yes, it was bad manners for Israel to embarrass the Vice President. However, members of the Netanyahu government thought they were acting in their country's interest -- as all nations should.
When I was the Reserve Attaché to our embassy in Israel, I frequently had discussions with American colleagues in the intelligence community who berated the "Izzis" for being arrogant.
Some of these critics were honest disputants, others were Arabists who were certain that we would enjoy popularity among the Arab states if we started acting in our own interest rather than being dictated to by the "Israeli lobby."
Then there were still others motivated by darker emotions.
So let us stand proudly and unashamed with a Republic like ours which has welcomed the refuse of foreign lands to its bosom. Let us celebrate our common mission to embrace the world's oppressed who have fled the lands of their nativity for a new home. We also might take note that Israel is home to millions of Arab Jews driven from intolerant societies just as America is the home of millions of Arab Christians driven by intolerance from these same Arab lands.