Condi, George Marshall and Israel
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Sixty years ago this month, the state of Israel was founded, a nation born with a knife at its throat. Within hours of the United Nations General Assembly's decision to partition British-ruled Palestine into two independent states - one majority Jewish, the other Arab - Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, whereupon seven Arab armies invaded in an unsuccessful attempt to wipe it off the map. It's unpleasant to talk about, but one parallel between May 1948 and May 2008 needs a more open public discussion as President Bush prepares to visit Israel next week to commemorate Israel's birthday: When it comes to legitimate Israeli security concerns, the State Department still seems clueless 60 years later.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is in a very weak position domestically; Israel is rife with rumors of his impending political demise as a result of myriad corruption investigations. Yet rather than let the Israeli electorate deal with a potential government crisis, it appears that Mr. Bush and Miss Rice have decided to ramp up the pressure on Israel to make life-and-death concessions to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a man whose serial incompetence got him run out of Gaza by Hamas, and whose own security record is shaky at best. Miss Rice and other U.S. diplomats pronounce themselves dissatisfied over the pace at which Israel has been taking down anti-terror security roadblocks in the West Bank, and the secretary is dispatching observers to various West Bank locations in order to satisfy herself that Israel is jettisoning them quickly enough. …