JINSA Report #:713
As the date for the presumed U.S.-sponsored Middle East "peace conference" draws closer, a comment by Secretary of State Rice caught our attention. She was returning from a sweep of the region, and told a reporter on the plane:
I really did spend a lot of time on the confidence-building measures and the phase one obligations. I spent a lot of time on security issues, not on-the-ground today security issues, but how would you envision the security of two states living side by side, because they're going to have to come up with a security concept between them. It's one of the problems that we're dealing with, frankly, in the Israeli population. And I heard it not just from the Israeli officials but from a broad range of Israelis. They had the withdrawal from Lebanon and it brought instability in Lebanon. They had the withdrawal from the Gaza, and look what happened in Gaza.
If, in fact, they're going to be asked to withdraw from the West Bank at some point, what does that mean for the security of Israel? That's a fair question. It really is. And so one of the things that I take back is that we are going to need to spend a lot of time thinking about how this state, if we are fortunate enough to be able to bring it into being, how it is going to relate to the security of its neighbor and vice versa.
Yes, Madame Secretary, it is a fair question. And it begs another. President Bush said in his seminal speech on the two-state solution, "when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, [the U.S.] will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional." How can you, as the representative of the President, move toward the creation of an independent Palestine, and ask Israel to accept that movement, in the absence of any of the President's required changes in Palestinian attitudes, institutions, leaders and behaviors?