Searching for Israeli-Palestinian Leverage

The U.S seems as unable as it is unwilling to get directly involved in a Middle East crisis that presages dire consequences for America itself. Ordering up a drive-by Zinni doesn’t cut it.

Perhaps this might.

Two countries — Egypt and Israel — that have a lot to say about whether the world turns toward Armageddon or toward a Cyprus-like solution keep raking it in from the U.S. Israel receives $3 billion annually in U.S. foreign aid, while Egypt’s take is $2 billion.

Perhaps Secretary of State Colin Powell could assume a role beyond rhetoric and brow knitting. Recall that he had no problem holding up $200 million in aid for Haiti until President Jean-Bertrand Aristide took steps to make that strategically unimportant, beleaguered country work better. Perhaps he should consider getting $5 billion dollars worth of leverage out of Egypt and Israel.

If we’re going to incur blame, wrath and more terrorist attacks, let’s at least not pay $5 billion for it.

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