Last weekend, Marine Corps General James Mattis, the recently retired leader of U.S. Central Command and a man known inside the White House for his sharp opinions (which is one reason he’s no longer leading Central Command) issued a very sharp opinion about Israel’s future.
Speaking at a security conference in Aspen, Colorado, Mattis (who will be going academic at Dartmouth) warned Israel that time was running out for it to reverse its West Bank settlement project.
But didn't Obama and Kerry say that bit about "running out of time" in the last year and it has been said multiple times? And wasn't Israel forthcoming and wasn't Abbas a Mr-Hang-Back?
And he said this, too:
“Certainly, it can be delayed a month, six months, 18 months. What do you do with the delay is the question,” he said.
“We have got to find a way to make the two-state solution that Democrat and Republican administrations have supported, we’ve got to get there,” he said. “And the chances for it, as the king of Jordan has pointed out, are starting to ebb because of the settlements and where they’re at, are going to make it impossible to maintain the two-state option.”
After blaming the lack of peace squarely on the settlements, he went a step further, and raised the incendiary question of apartheid: “If I’m Jerusalem and I put 500 Jewish settlers out here to the east and there’s 10,000 Arab settlers[????] in here, if we draw the border to include them, either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote -- apartheid. That didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country.”
That, of course, is not only incorrect but highly inflammable.
Goldberg is also a bit upset:
He was wrong to blame the lack of peace solely on Israel -- the Palestinians have rejected one compromise offer after another, and the Gaza Strip, which would make up about half the future Palestinian state, is under the control of Hamas, which seeks Israel’s elimination...
Mattis went on to make another assertion that Netanyahu’s cabinet ought to heed: “I paid a military security price every day as the commander of Centcom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel and that moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians." He went on to say that John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state who's trying to restart peace talks, "is right on target with what he’s doing. And I just hope the protagonists want peace and a two-state solution as much as he does.”
JJ Goldberg added this
...If [America] fails, he said, the result will be “apartheid.” And then this bombshell:
I paid a military-security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel.
So, America "was seen". So? That makes it right?
And what did the Joint Chiefs of Staff think about Israel's security needs?
From a strictly military point of view, Israel would require the retention of some captured territory in order to provide militarily defensible borders. [emphasis added] Determination of territory to be retained should be based on accepted tactical principles such as control of commanding terrain, use of natural obstacles, elimination of enemy-held salients, and provision of defense in-depth for important facilities and installations. More detailed discussions of the key border areas mentioned in the reference are contained in the Appendix hereto. In summary, the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding these areas are as follows:
a. The Jordanian West Bank. Control of the prominent high ground running north-south through the middle of West Jordan generally east of the main north-south highway along the axis Jennin-Nablus-Bira-Jerusalem and then southeast to a junction with the Dead Sea at the Wadi el Daraja would provide Israel with a militarily defensible border. The envisioned defensive line would run just east of Jerusalem....
Well, well. is Mattis a Mad-Hatter, or just a Mad Hater?