Petraeus On Israel


Philip Klein posted this video Thursday of Petraeus talking about the Israel (the audio quality isn't great):

Klein provides links: 

If you aren’t familiar with the story, here’s the post on Foreign Policy’s website that started the controversy, which Petraeus told me was wrong in all the key respects. And here’s the Max Boot post from Commentary that Petraeus told me accurately reflects his position.

From the linked Max Boot article:

General Petraeus obviously doesn’t see the Israeli-Arab “peace process” as a top issue for his command, because he didn’t even raise it in his opening statement. When he was pressed on it, he made a fairly anodyne statement about the need to encourage negotiations to help moderate Arab regimes. That’s it. He didn’t say that all settlements had to be stopped or that Israel is to blame for the lack of progress in negotiations. And he definitely didn’t say that the administration should engineer a crisis in Israeli-U.S. relations in order to end the construction of new housing for Jews in East Jerusalem. In fact, his view, as I mentioned in my earlier post, is that settlements are only “one of many issues, among which also is the unwillingness to recognize Israel and the unwillingness to confront the extremists who threaten Israelis.”

I doubt that Sarah Palin would disagree.

Larison's take:

[T]here really does seem to be not very much to the story about Petraeus. In his Senate testimony, he said that what happens in Israel and the Palestinian territories has an “impact” and said yesterday that there is a “spillover effect.” As Walt notes, this is “mild, unsurprising stuff.” Petraeus now insists that he never said the more provocative things attributed to him in the original report on the briefing, and he also claims that he never requested that the occupied territories be placed in Centcom’s area. So, like anyone not blinded by ideology, Petraeus acknowledges that Israeli policy has an effect on the entire region, but he has not made the more specific and provocative claims that have been attributed to him. It’s true that some have read too much into the reports about Petraeus, not least Abe Foxman, who overreacted more than anyone. I’m sure Klein will move swiftly to attack Foxman’s distortions and absurd accusations any minute now.

I take Larison's point. Nonetheless, the paper Petraeus presented made a clear distinction between American interests and Israeli interests in the wider war on Jihadist terrorism. Until recently, Washington polite opinion could not publicly concede that. Now it's taken for granted.

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