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After Annapolis: Rice in Israel

Friday, Feb. 29, 2008

Eye-opening report from Steve Clemons, who's travelling in Israel and the West Bank, regarding the "antipathy" felt at high levels of the Israeli government to Condoleeza Rice's upcoming visit:

I've been told that she comes with no plan, no ideas, no pressure to move in any direction whatsoever. According to a source very close to Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert, she doesn't even ask questions about the basic positions on each side so as to understand the "gaps" and then to offer ideas -- or even pressure on the Israelis and Palestinians -- to close the gaps. Those engaged credibly in the peace process here want American engagement -- and want the U.S. to play a role in defining "best options" among many competing visions of how this is going to work out.

That's about the polar opposite of what the Bush administration has offered the region for seven years now. After Annapolis, there was some hope that things might change. Now, keep in mind that what Steve's hearing might just be an attempt to spin the blame from Jerusalem to Washington. But if it's accurate, it's pretty damning.