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BAKER-HAMILTON IRAQ STUDY GROUP RECOMMENDS RENEWED AMERICAN LEADERSHIP
TO RESOLVE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT
/The Report of the Iraq Study Group issued November 6, 2006 states that
U.S. goals in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East cannot be met
without renewed, direct American leadership to resolve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Report also recommends changes in
American policy to deal with the related conflicts between Israel and
Syria and Israel and Lebanon. Excerpts from the 96 page Report follow,
with page references. The entire report can be read at the U.S.
Institute of Peace
/*From the Executive Summary:*/
The United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it
deals directly with the Arab- Israeli conflict andregional instability.
There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to
a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts: Lebanon, Syria, and
President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel
and Palestine. This commitment must include direct talks with, by, and
between Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians (those who accept Israel's right
to exist), and Syria...
*/Israeli-Palestinian Conflict pp 54-58/*
* The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the
Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the
There must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United
States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts:
Lebanon, Syria, and President Bush's June 2002 commitment to a
two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. This commitment must
include direct talks with, by, and between Israel, Lebanon,
Palestinians (those who accept Israel's right to exist), and
particularly Syria--which is the principal transit point for
shipments of weapons to Hezbollah, and which supports radical
The United States does its ally Israel no favors in avoiding
direct involvement to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. For several
reasons, we should act boldly:
There is no military solution to this conflict.
The vast majority of the Israeli body politic is tired of being a
nation perpetually at war.
No American administration--Democratic or Republican-- will ever
Political engagement and dialogue are essential in the Arab-
Israeli dispute because it is an axiom that when the political
process breaks down there will be violence on the ground.
The only basis on which peace can be achieved is that set forth in
UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and in the principle
of "land for peace."
The only lasting and secure peace will be a negotiated peace such
as Israel has achieved with Egypt and Jordan.
This effort would strongly support moderate Arab governments in
the region, especially the democratically elected government of
Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas.
RECOMMENDATION 13: There must be a renewed and sustained
commitment by the United States to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli
peace on all fronts: Lebanon and Syria, and President Bush's June
2002 commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
RECOMMENDATION 14: This effort should include--as soon as
possible--the unconditional calling and holding of meetings, under
the auspices of the United States or the Quartet (i.e., the United
States, Russia, European Union, and the United Nations), between
Israel and Lebanon and Syria on the one hand, and Israel and
Palestinians (who acknowledge Israel's right to exist) on the
other. The purpose of these meetings would be to negotiate peace
as was done at the Madrid Conference in 1991, and on two separate
tracks-- one Syrian/Lebanese, and the other Palestinian.
RECOMMENDATION 15: Concerning Syria, some elements of that
negotiated peace should be:
Syria's full adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of
August 2006, which provides the framework for Lebanon to regain
sovereign control over its territory.
Syria's full cooperation with all investigations into political
assassinations in Lebanon, especially those of Rafik Hariri and
A verifiable cessation of Syrian aid to Hezbollah and the use of
Syrian territory for transshipment of Iranian weapons and aid to
Hezbollah. (This step would do much to solve Israel's problem with
Syria's use of its influence with Hamas and Hezbollah for the
release of the captured Israeli Defense Force soldiers.
A verifiable cessation of Syrian efforts to undermine the
democratically elected government of Lebanon.
A verifiable cessation of arms shipments from or transiting
through Syria for Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups.
A Syrian commitment to help obtain from Hamas an acknowledgment of
Israel's right to exist.
Greater Syrian efforts to seal its border with Iraq.
RECOMMENDATION 16: In exchange for these actions and in the
context of a full and secure peace agreement, the Israelis should
return the Golan Heights, with a U.S. security guarantee for
Israel that could include an international force on the border,
including U.S. troops if requested by both parties.
RECOMMENDATION 17: Concerning the Palestinian issue, elements of
that negotiated peace should include:
Adherence to UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and to
the principle of land for peace, which are the only bases for
Strong support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the
Palestinian Authority to take the lead in preparing the way for
negotiations with Israel.
A major effort to move from the current hostilities by
consolidating the cease-fire reached between the Palestinians and
the Israelis in November 2006.
Support for a Palestinian national unity government.
Sustainable negotiations leading to a final peace settlement along
the lines of President Bush's two-state solution, which would
address the key final status issues of borders, settlements,
Jerusalem, the right of return, and the end of conflict.
*/ Linkage of Key Middle East Conflicts, p. 43, 44/*
.....Iraq cannot be addressed effectively in isolation from other major
regional issues, interests, and unresolved conflicts. To put it simply,
all key issues in the Middle East--the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq,
Iran, the need for political and economic reforms, and extremism and
terrorism--are inextricably linked. In addition to supporting stability
in Iraq, a comprehensive diplomatic offensive--the New Diplomatic
Offensive--should address these key regional issues. By doing so, it
would help marginalize extremists and terrorists, promote U.S. values
and interests, and improve America's global image.
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