Ramesh: Sharp eye. I pulled up short on that quote for a reason. Seems to me that the U.S. has two interests: 1) that a new Palestinian state not be a rogue state, and to that end, we should insist that the Palestinians create a decent leadership; 2) that there be a settlement as soon as feasible after that. Our interest coincides with Israel’s in seeking the first goal, but it won’t necessarily in seeking the second.
Mark: The question of whether Americans should want other Americans to travel around the world meeting with our enemies is totally distinct from the question of whether we should be outraged by Beilin or not. Yes, as an American, I get mad when Ramsey Clark runs off to North Korea, but why should an Israeli get mad? By the same token, Israelis might be mad at Beilin, but why should I as an American be mad? For me, the only question is whether or not giving Beilin some mild encouragement is in the U.S. national interest or not (I think it is – but it’s an arguable point). And I’m not ready to accept it as a general principle that the U.S. government shouldn’t undermine Israel’s prime minister when it suits our purposes. I trust President Bush to protect U.S. national interests in the region more than Ariel Sharon, or any other Israeli prime minister. That’s not Sharon’s job, after all.