The Corner

Uae, Israel & The Ports

I respectfully disagree with Rich’s point about the intelligence problem (which Charles Krauthammer and Frank Gaffney have highlighted) being “the only even remotely convincing reason to oppose” the UAE/DPW port deal.

I was surprised and saddened, watching Sean Hannity interview Attorney General Gonzales last night, at the fact that, though Sean pressed the issue a couple of times, the AG obstinately refused to answer the question of whether we should be doing business (or regarding as an ally) a country that refuses to recognize Israel.

Israel is one of our closest and most loyal allies. It is fighting for its survival against people who yearn for its destruction – people who may be being backed financially as well as politically and morally – by the UAE.

I would think it would be a condition precedent to being considered a good ally of the United States (in the war on terror or otherwise), and certainly to being entrusted with an important role in the operation of the ports (where we are vulnerable), that a country expressly acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. The failure to concede Israel’s right to exist can only sensibly be considered the equivalent of endorsing terrorist initiatives (such as the Intifada) to destroy Israel.

If the UAE, or any country, endorses – however passively – the proposition that indiscriminate bombing attacks against civilian targets can ever be legitimate, why should we allow such a country to be in a position to affect our border security? How could we consider it a good ally (even if it may be less offensive than a country like Iran)? I’m not saying we need to go to war with them, but why would we give them a place at our table?

Anyway, the relevant portion of the Gonzales/Hannity transcript is below. Meanwhile, I guess I’m wondering if I’ve gone off the deep-end, since I’ve been assuming as a given something that it appears may not be true. Do people disagree with the proposition that we should take the following position: “If a country will not both expressly recognize Israel’s right to exist in perpetuity and expressly condemn terrorist attacks against Israel, it should not get to participate in the operation of our ports.”

HANNITY: The president has made the case that, since 9/11, the United Arab Emirates has changed. But yet, they still do not formally recognize Israel. They were one of only three countries that recognized the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The 9/11 Commission report refers to Dubai on multiple occasions, pointing out that a lot of the money — their banking system filtered a lot of the money for operational planning for the 9/11 attack and a lot of the transportation hub was used out of the UAE.

Are you convinced that all of those matters have been fixed? And how troubling is it if they won’t recognize Israel? Does that show, in some way, that they’re influenced by more radical elements?

GONZALES: The president said that this country is a country that’s played by the rules. It has been an ally to the United States in the war on terror. Michael Chertoff and the Department of Homeland Security, they have the primary responsibility of ensuring that our ports are secure. And so DHS has taken the lead in ensuring that the national security is not in any way compromised by this transaction going forward.

The department, as all the other agencies involved in the CFIUS process, we conduct our own evaluation as to whether or not, are there any criminal investigations that may be affected by this transaction? We do a background check on the owners, on the directors. So we do our part in ensuring the national security of this country is not compromised in this transaction going forward.

HANNITY: Does the non-recognition of Israel show, somehow, an influence by radical elements?

GONZALES: Again, Sean, we have followed the process required by the statute. Our collective judgment is that this transaction does not imprecate the national security of this country.

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