- Israel will do harm to its relations with the United
States if it insists on lobbying Washington for an American military strike
on Iran, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser to Jimmy
Carter, said in an interview with Haaretz over the weekend.
- "One advice that I would give the Israeli government
is not to engage in this campaign for an American attack on Iran, because
I don't think America is going to attack Iran, and if it did, and the consequences
would be disastrous," Brzezinski told Haaretz. "It wouldn't be
particularly good for American-Israeli relations, and there will be a lot
of resentment against [Israel]," Brzezinski said. "There already
has been some after the war in Iraq."
- Even if Israel did attack Iran, it would be incapable
of striking all of its nuclear facilities, Brezinski said. The best it
could hope to do is to slow down or delay the Islamic Republic's drive
to build a nuclear bomb while emboldening extremist sentiment in the country.
- "I don't know if Iran believes the military option
is real, but I think it's not a real option for the U.S., and it is not
a real option for Israel, because Israel doesn't have a capability to destroy
Iranian nuclear facilities," Brzezinski said. "It can damage
them, so it can only delay the process, while intensifying Iranian extremism
and wielding together Iranian nationalism and Iranian fundamentalism, which
I don't think is in anyone?s interest. Last, but not least, Israel really
cannot execute effective strike without our permission. Because if you
look at the map, you can see the reason why it is so."
- Brzezinski was among those who listened intently to President
George W. Bush's farewell speech on the Middle East over the weekend.
- Brzezinski, one of the architects of the Camp David peace
accords between Israel and Egypt who spared no criticism of the outgoing
president during his two terms in office, is still not buying Bush's vision
for a new Middle East.
- "You might remember that when Iraq war started in
March, already in May President Bush proclaimed: 'Mission accomplished,'"
Brzezinski told Haaretz. "That happens to be more than seven years
ago. In the course of this year, he several times declared that there's
going to be Israeli-Palestinian peace by the end of this year before he
leaves office, because of his policies in the region. That hasn't materialized
yet and it is unlikely to happen before he leaves office. Iran is now more
influential in region than seven years ago. So I think there is some legitimate
skepticism justified regarding his analysis of what has happened."
- The octogenarian former diplomat continues to be one
of the most active figures in Washington. Aside from his ability to prompt
leaders to seek his advice, one of his trademarks continues to be a special
talent to draw fire from critics. Many Israelis think he loathes their
country, yet a similar sentiment can be heard from the Palestinians and
the Russians. His supporters say he is simply focusing on advancing U.S.
interests, and that he has no intention of toadying to anyone. Brezinski's
endorsement of Barack Obama moved many in the Jewish community to warn:
"With advisors like Brzezinski, Obama's policies will not be pro-Israel."
- Brezinski thinks the president-elect has a rare opportunity
to translate the euphoria which followed his election victory into a concrete
policy that will yield results in the international arena. "I think
Barack Obama has to actively help to resolve Israeli-Palestinian stalemate,
and it requires a comprehensive and explicit American peace initiative,
because the parties are stalemated," Brzezinski said. "I think
that the first priority for the US president is to articulate that stand,
especially when he has very high international prestige, he was elected
with unprecedented global enthusiasm."
- "He has a lot of prestige," he said. "If
he would articulate that position, I think the whole international community
would endorse it. And I think that would have some significant impact on
a peace process, and after he has made that statement, he should than appoint
the usual peace plenipotentiary to deal with the problem, because obviously
president can't spend his time involved in negotiating process."
- Brzezinki said public opinion in Israel and the Palestinian
territories is more accomodating to an agreement, but it is the political
leadership's hesitance to make fateful concessions that necessitates active
- "The public is actually ahead of the political leaders
in some aspects, but the political leaders are hesitant to make necessary
concessions that are fundamental to the settlement," he said. "Out
of the perhaps understandable fear that if one makes the concession first,
the other side will pocket it without return. So I think it's necessary
that the U.S. takes initiative and breaks the lock jam, and that initiative
requires particularly clear American view but also the international community's
view that this initiative has to be based on four fundamental principles."
- They include a Palestinian renunciation of the right
of return; an Israeli commitment to genuinely share Jerusalem; a final
border based on the '67 lines with minor alterations to allow for annexation
of settlement blocs; and a demilitarized Palestinian state.
- Brezinski also says the two sides should consider an
international peacekeeping force led by NATO to assuage security concerns.
- "The possible involvement of NATO is not a question
of war on terror, but ensuring that the Palestinian state is not a military
threat, but at the same time stable and secure, and NATO presence could
bring this double benefit," he said. "[P]erhaps a NATO presence
[could] ensure a peace agreement, or maybe even an American presence along
the Jordan River, to give the Israelis sense of geographical security."