“The Quartet welcomed the efforts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to
form a government of national unity, in the hope that the platform of such a
government would reflect Quartet principles and allow for early engagement.”
Statement of the Quartet – 20 September 2006
Without any advance warning, the United States, through the Quartet,
radically changed its position on Palestinian compliance.
The Quartet no longer requires Palestinian compliance. It only “hopes” for
In the days leading up to this shocking development, foreign minister Tzipi
Livni held meetings with literally every important American official –
including President Bush and Secretary of State Rice. But despite these
meetings Livni apparently had no idea that this dramatic policy change was
in the works.
This morning the domestic spin, as presented by Minister Ronnie Bar-On in an
interview on Israel Radio, was to deny that anything happened.
And there certainly is a logic to this approach.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s principle advisors are advertising men. These
folks are experts in marketing politicians and toothpaste – not
international relations. And the advertising men rightly figure that if
Israeli officials don’t follow up on the Quartet Statement that the story
won’t have legs – thus limiting the current damage the story would have done
The problem is, of course, that while the story may have died, the
consequences haven’t. It is only a matter of time before the downgrading of
Palestinian compliance from a requirement to a “hope” gains expression in
the policies and actions of the Quartet members.
What could the Olmert team have done if their priority was the future of
Israel rather than Olmert’s standing in overnight polling?
Instead of trying to kill the story, the team should have developed it.
The prime minister knows how to phone leading American Jewish leaders,
politicians and columnists when he wants to.
FM Livni, who was literally at the scene of the crime, had ample
opportunities to let the media know about Israel’s concerns before returning
It may be still not too late to pick up the ball.
What’s to be gained by making an issue of it?
Let’s not forget that this is an election year in the United States, and
this policy shift is hardly something for the White House to be proud of.
Prompt action could very well lead to “clarifying remarks” to turn
Palestinian compliance back into a requirement rather than just a “hope”.
In the least, by identifying itself as the injured party, Israel could
expect to gain some form of diplomatic compensation for the American breach
.Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org