M.J. Rosenberg writes: In 1990, Secretary of State James Baker had basically had it up to here with the Israeli government. The (George H.W.) Bush administration had been trying to entice Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir into negotiations with the Palestinians but he kept adding new conditions to get the U.S. off his back.
To be acceptable to Shamir, any Palestinian interlocutors had to have no connections with the PLO, none with any associates of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and could not be from Jerusalem. Beyond that, the Israelis would decide which Palestinians were acceptable as negotiating partners based on their idea of merit (only pro-Israel Palestinians would do, apparently).
Baker was fuming but held his tongue until he went before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss Middle East prospects. But then something happened and, for perhaps the last time ever, a top U.S. government official told the Israelis what he really thought. [Continue reading…]