Jan 10 2009

Dennis Ross is not the Change we can believe in

Published by at 10:43 am under Articles,Other

The following appeared in the Huffington Post

If the latest events and the negative role of US diplomacy has shown anything it is that we can’t have the same US policies in regards to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The news leaks that former Clinton advisor Dennis Ross might be getting the nod to be involved in the new administration as an advisor to the Middle East is certainly not the change that President elect Barack Obama promised during his election campaign.

The prevailing impression in the region and especially among Arabs is that, Dennis Ross was nothing more than a postman for the Israelis. On more than one occasion Arab negotiators have complained that Ross in his job as an American envoy was given them a carbon copy of documents or proposals that the Israelis had sent to their Arab interlocutor.

Perhaps Ross’s biggest problems happened after he left the White House as he led the, now disproven myth about what actually happened during the Barack-Arafat-Clinton Camp David talks in the last days of the Clinton administration. At that time Ross led the chorus of Israeli apologists placing all the blame for the failure of the talks on the Palestinian leader. Ironically, Ross, himself, was the person who convinced Arafat to go to Camp David after solemnly promising him that neither side will be publicly blamed if the talks fail. Palestinian president Arafat had told Ross that the time was not ripe for a summit but Ross, in connivance with Barack, attempted to railroad a bad deal down Arafat’s throat. Arafat who felt that the deal was very bad for Palestinians asked his US hosts if they can get the support of Arab leaders, they were unable to.

Dennis Ross’s lexicon is one reflection of his bias. In a speech he gave to the Seeds for Peace organization, last April, Ross refused to use the universally accepted word “occupation” in describing Israeli army’s presence in the Palestinian territories. Instead he used the word “Israeli control.”

After he left his job as senior Mideast negotiator continued to work and speak mostly on behalf on behalf of pro Israel Jewish organizations. If the US wants an honest broker, they can certainly find many other much more neutral and respected individuals to Arabs and Israelis including well qualified and politically honest and neutral American Jewish academics and diplomats.

America is poised on a new course when the champion of change, Barack Obama takes office on January 20th. Those who totally believe in a nonviolent solution to the Arab Israeli conflict and wish for true and lasting peace, wish on America’s new president to apply his change mantra to the position of his special advisor to the Middle East.

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