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July 25, 2006
Rice: No Return To Status Quo Ante

Condoleezza Rice made it plain to Mahmoud Abbas that the United States would not accept a return to the status quo ante after the attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas this summer. Rice called for those who want to see a new Middle East to demand change, and that cease-fires would have to wait until a consensus for real change arrives:

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Tuesday with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah following her earlier meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"It is time for a new Middle East," Rice said in the meeting. "It is time to say to those that don't want a different kind of Middle East that we will prevail. They will not."

Rice admitted that the suffering of all innocent people in the region was disturbing, but nonetheless, did not call on Israel to stop its actions in Lebanon. She stated that the US supported Israel's "neutralization" of the terror group Hizbullah.

The old assumptions have brought us to the current situation, and the Bush administration knows that returning to the same sitiuation will only cause more war. Security in the Middle East will continue to be a pipe dream while organizations like Hezbollah continue to hold territory and retain the capacity for armed assaults on Israel. The proxy wars have to stop, and that means the proxy sponsors have to cut them off or watch them get destroyed by Israeli military.

If Abbas wants the carnage to stop, he needs to tell that to Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not Rice. As long as Syria and Iran continue to pursue a proxy war against Israel through Hezbollah and Hamas, Israel will respond in kind. Iran, Syria, and Hassan Nasrallah selected Lebanon as the battlefield, not Israel. Everyone knows the loci of the problem, but they want the US to restrain Israel instead of demanding change from Damascus and Teheran.

If this situation does not come to a permanent resolution on this occasion, we will have another twenty years of wars and provocations along the Israeli-Lebanon border. Should we settle this now, while the worst weapons in the Hezbollah arsenal are short- and medium-range missiles, or should we wait until they have chemical or biological weapons to fire at Israel? The problem with status quo ante is that it imposes a status quo on Israel while Hezbollah continues to increase its danger to the region. If the Arabs truly want peace, or at least quiet, then they need to address their side of the problem. We're no longer in the business of imposing unilateral remedies on Israel.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 25, 2006 11:16 AM

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