Washington and its ally Israel have long rejected even a tenuous linkage between that dispute and the Iraq war. But Arab leaders insist the issues are intertwined and that Israeli-Palestinian fighting has been a key source of regional instability.
“The United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict and regional instability,” the bipartisan commission said in its much-anticipated report to Bush.
Though the group’s report dealt mostly with proposed shifts of course in the unpopular war in Iraq, its key recommendations included a call for direct talks as soon as possible involving Israel, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinians.
While calling for a resumption of long-stalled talks “on all fronts,” the commission said Syria must agree to a list of international demands.
It called for a halt to aid to Hezbollah and to the use of Syrian territory for transshipment of Iranian arms to the Lebanese guerrilla group, an allegation Tehran has denied.
It also urged Syrian help to secure the release of Israeli soldiers held by Hezbollah and Hamas, an end to weapons shipments to Palestinian militant groups and a commitment to get Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
“In exchange for these actions and in the context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israelis should return the Golan Heights, with a U.S. security guarantee for Israel that could include an international force on the border, including U.S. troops if requested by both parties,” the group said.
On the Palestinian front, the commission reasserted the principle of “land for peace” as the basis for a two-state solution and urged support for moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas taking the lead in preparing talks with Israel.
Seriously, no wonder the world hates us – we think we can go around telling people to give away their land to another country if that other country pretends to be nice with us for a while?
We need to stop telling these countries how to live and let them fight their own battles. This is just getting stupid.