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October 6, 2009
Scowcroft: Obama must 'jumpstart' Palestinian state
Brent Scowcroft has been a harsh critic of Israel for years (he has pecuniary reasons - business interests that might lead him to curry favor with the Arab world). Scowcroft's protégés are throughout the Obama administration, writes the Wall Street Journal and now he is sending a message to redouble efforts to pressure Israel and advocates the jumpstarting of a Palestinian state.
From Eli Lakes's Washington Times interview with Scowcroft:
Mr. Scowcroft, national security adviser to Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush, said he keeps in touch with James L. Jones, the current national security adviser, as well as Mr. Gates.
Mr. Scowcroft praised the Obama administration's diplomatic engagement with Iran and said a meeting with Iran in Geneva last week that ended with some tentative Iranian compromises on the country's nuclear program was "as good as these meetings ever get."
He said the U.S. should tell Israel not to attack Iran's nuclear sites something, he suggested, the previous administration had done because of the adverse effects an attack would have on regional stability.
"I think we should make it clear to the Israelis that this is not something we would be comfortable with," he said.
Rather than spending months trying to get Israel to freeze its construction of settlements on the West Bank and to get the Arab states to make gestures toward Israel, he said, the United States, Europe and Russia should table a plan to jump-start negotiations on creating a Palestinian state.
"I think it's time for a different role; the focus on settlements on the Israeli side and improving contacts on the Arab side, overflight rights and so on, is going for the capillaries at a time when that cannot produce good results," he said. "I have felt for some time that the two sides are unlikely in the foreseeable future to be able on their own to make the compromises necessary."