Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006 18:36:08 -0500
From: Chas Freeman
Outrages like our veto of a UNSC resolution condemning the Beit Hanoun
massacre may be building enough animosity toward the United States to
provoke condemnation of us by the General Assembly and the authorization
of actions that the UNSC cannot authorize due to our veto. But the
limitations of such an action are manifest:
-- Although passed by the UNGA, Uniting for Peace was sponsored by three
of the Perm-5 plus Taipei, representing China, when the UNSC was
incapacitated by the temporary absence of the USSR. While many in the
UN would welcome the absence of John Bolton and the United States
government he represents from the UNSC, we are not going to absent
ourselves and thereby forfeit our veto as the USSR did. Nor, most
likely, are the other four members of the Perm-5 going to take us on.
-- Uniting for Peace was backed by the only great power with the
capability to project force across the world's oceans, the United
States. There is still no one else able to do this. And there is no
political or military body other than our own capable of imposing a
solution on Israel and the Palestinians. Who would organize the
political and military coalitions in our absence? How would they deal
with a recalcitrant Israel backed by a United States inflamed by
congressional demagoguery and slanderous charges of anti-Semitism that
would resonate throughout the Atlantic world?
-- The US will not acquiesce in any decision of the UN it has not
supported. Our resistance, however misguided, would condemn any peace
initiative to failure before it was passed.
I think your judgment of the incapacities imposed on us by our politics
is entirely correct. But we, not the UN, are going to have to find a
way to fix that problem. I share your pessimism about the prospects for
our doing so. And, sharing your frustration as I do, I wish I had a
better idea than yours to put forward.
(in Beijing, en route to Beirut via many stops in between)
Dear Chas, dear Robert, dear friends:
Many thanks for sending me the excellent speech Chas
made to the 15^th annual U.S.-Arab Policymakers Conference.
Basically, all of us who have been involved in diplomacy over the
years are analyzing the problems of the Near East the same way, and
we come up with similar recommendations.
But sitting here in Europe, I am under the impression
that the forces in the U.S. that unconditionally support the
Israelis in their actions in Palestine, Lebanon, and Jerusalem are
much stronger than those calling for a negotiated compromise
settlement. I don't need to cite all the forces in the U.S., which
for their own reasons, are unconditionally behind the Zionist
policies of Tel Aviv and the current administration in Washington.
Do I need to state that unconditional supporters of Israel can be
found in both political parties—Republican and Democrats—and in two
branches of government—legislative and executive? I have, therefore,
come to the conclusion that without diplomatic help coming from
outside the U.S., we will not be able to convince the Israeli
authorities that their failure to use diplomacy and negotiations,
rather than military might, will lead to disaster.
I will try to set forth in this message what I have in
mind to circumvent this stalemate. It turns around the idea of
having the UN General Assembly pass a resolution "Uniting for
Peace," which forces the opposing parties to meet under UN auspices
(preferably in Geneva) and to come up with an agreement establishing
two states— Israel and Palestine—by a precise date. We all agree
that the topic of discussion for the opposing parties would be, in
the first place, the framework proposed by Saudi Arabia's King
Abdullah at Beirut in 2002. In such a scenario, the veto by some
countries in the UN Security Council would be avoided and there
surely is a huge majority for a peaceful denouement to the Near East
conflict. I should add, the U.S. used the same system to obtain UN
approval for its Korea policy in the early 1950s.
Using the UN General Assembly in finding a peaceful
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears to me very much
in line with the world community's vote in 1948, which established
the state of Israel. It would also permit the USG and others to give
Israel assurances for its national security within internationally
accepted borders, and give international recognition and financial
assistance for the Palestinians. Furthermore, meeting in Geneva
would permit the International Red Cross (ICRC) to play its
traditional role in the exchange of prisoners.
I would be interested in having your views whether there
is any merit in the above idea, and, if so, how to get policy makers
to focus on it. We all agree, I believe, that defusing rapidly the
explosive Israel-Palestine conflict will help any U.S.
administration to deal with the deteriorating situation in Iraq, in
Afghanistan, and probably also with international terrorism.
John Gunther Dean