Eye to Eye - Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel
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I primarily focus on billion dollar-plus U.S. events that coincide with White House involvement with Israel’s land. However, after research, I discovered there were nine major FEMA disasters and/or clusters of events in 2007 and two other major crises that coincided either with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Jerusalem or U.S. President George W. Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Secretary Rice’s Quartet meetings.
After four of Rice’s eight trips to Israel this year, President Bush declared major FEMA disasters for events that coincided with her trips to Israel.
Four disaster events and/or clusters of events were weather-related. A fifth disaster occurred when a major bridge collapsed in the Congressional district of Congress’ only Muslim Congressman — on the day he stated he was going back to Israel to work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the same time, Rice was in Jerusalem meeting with Olmert, Shimon Peres, Tzipi Livni, and Ehud Barak.
The bridge collapsed in the area known as the ‘West Bank’ — the west bank of the Mississippi River at the campus of the University of Minnesota. (There is a West Bank campus and an East Bank campus.)
During Rice’s November trip to Israel there was a major political crisis for the Bush Administration in Pakistan, a sixth major non-FEMA weather event, record oil-prices, and the euro hit a new high against the US dollar .
There were five additional major FEMA disaster events and/or clusters of events that occurred in the United States in 2007 that coincided with President Bush and Rice preparing for a meeting with Olmert, meeting with Olmert in Washington, and during Rice’s Quartet meetings.
The costliest FEMA event in 2007 was the billion dollar Southern California fires in October, which were right on the heels of Rice’s five day visit to Israel to push for her Middle East Summit at Annapolis — where there were discussions on the boundaries and timing of a Palestinian state, the forfeiture of Judea and Samaria, pressure to divide Jerusalem, and initial discussions on the sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
Rice in Israel (2007) …
Rice visits Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, 1/13-15; Ramallah, 1/14; Egypt 1/15; Saudi Arabia 1/15-16; Kuwait 1/16-17; Germany 1/17-18, and Great Britain 1/18-19.
- Rice pitches President Bush's vision of "Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security" in all the stops and goes to Germany and Britain to give status reports.
- President Bush declares major FEMA disasters due to severe winter storms in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas from 1/13-19. The California freeze loss was over $1 billion — affecting a majority of the orange and lemon crops.
- During Rice's stops in Germany and Britain, those countries experienced record hurricane-force winds that shut down the train system in Germany, affected trains in Britain, forced the cancellation of most flights out of Frankfurt and London Heathrow's airports, and disrupted barge travel throughout northern Europe and left tremendous property damage.
Rice visits Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, 2/17-20; Ramallah, 2/18.
- Aluf Benn of Ha'aretz wrote, "A kind word for Condoleezza," saying that people who spoke to Secretary of State Rice during her visit that week were impressed by her determination to invest the remainder of her tenure in promoting a "two-state solution" for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- Rice: "As I have said, it is, in fact, a complicated time because we are between the announcement of the intention to form a [Palestinian] government and the actual formation of the government."
- There was no FEMA disaster or apparent political crisis that corresponded to this trip. Rice's main purpose was the establishment of a Palestinian government. However, she was furious over Abbas' agreement with Hamas for a unity government that the Saudis brokered.
Rice visits Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, 3/25-27; Ramallah, 3/25.
- SECRETARY RICE on 3/23: "But what I believe is very important is that all parties in the international community, and that includes the Arab states, should recognize in order to get to an Israeli-Palestinian state, an end to the — a Palestinian state and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you need the energy and the help of moving forward on the Arab-Israeli side not at the end of the process but earlier in the process."
- SECRETARY RICE on 3/27: "There is a growing consensus behind President Bush's vision of the State of Israel and the new State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security, as well as an urgent desire to achieve it. The violent extremism we see in the Middle East poses a grave threat to all who seek peace. President Abbas truly desires to be a partner for peace."
- President Bush declares major FEMA disasters for severe storms and tornados in New Mexico from Mar. 23-24.
Rice visits Egypt from May 1-4.
- Question of Rice: "Other than the meeting about Iraq, today there was a meeting of the Quartet with the Arab countries about the initiative, the Arab Initiative. With the Israeli problems, there is a deadlock now in this process. How do you view this in the light of visit to the area?"
- SECRETARY RICE: "Well, the informal discussion that we are going to have will take place after this. And so we've not yet had that informal discussion. It's just an opportunity for the international Quartet to — we're taking advantage of the fact that we're all here for the international Quartet to hear from the Arab League committee that is going to be presenting in various quarters the Arab League Initiative, as was sent out of the Riyadh summit. So we've not yet had that discussion."
- Seven tornadoes were reported in Colorado on May 3 from a larger cyclone. The May 2007 tornado outbreak was an extended outbreak that started on May 4, 2007, affecting portions of the Central United States. The most destructive tornado in the outbreak occurred on the evening of May 4 in central Kansas. About 95% of the town of Greensburg, Kansas in Kiowa County was destroyed by this EF5 tornado. The outbreak which included several other tornadoes reported across Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and South Dakota that occurred on the same night. There were 100 tornadoes on May 5 mostly in open country.
- President Bush declares major FEMA disasters for severe storms, tornadoes and flooding for Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri and Nebraska from May 4-19.
Rice Visits Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, 8/1-2; Ramallah, 8/2/07.
On Wednesday, Aug. 1, Secretary of State Rice, in a visit to Jerusalem, began laying the groundwork for a Mideast peace conference — hoping to push Israelis and Palestinians closer to renewing talks. Rice met with Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak.
- On Wednesday, the day the United States' Muslim Congressman announced he was making a trip to Israel, a major bridge tragically collapsed in his (Minnesota) congressional district. The bridge's construction was completed in 1967. The area it fell in is called the "west bank" because of a concentration of Muslims.
- The bridge collapse gained national and international attention.
- President Bush stated from the Rose Garden: "I just finished a Cabinet meeting. One of the things we discussed was the terrible situation there in Minneapolis. We talked about the fact that the bridge collapsed, and that we in the federal government must respond and respond robustly to help the people there not only recover, but to make sure that lifeline of activity, that bridge, gets rebuilt as quickly as possible."
Rice visits Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, 9/19-20; Ramallah, 9/20.
- SECRETARY RICE: "We have had wide-ranging discussions today about the discussions that are going on in the bilateral channel between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas. I was very pleased to hear that teams have been appointed to work on a document that you would hope to complete by the time of the international meeting."
- As Rice was finishing her two-day trip to Israel, the Associated Press stated the weather system that began to develop on Wednesday, which forecasters said might develop into a tropical depression, caused the temporary, precautionary closure of about a quarter of the Gulf of Mexico's daily oil production on Thursday. That lent an extra boost to the oil market's already strong record-breaking run, because traders view U.S. crude inventories as tight. Last week, crude inventories declined.
- There was no FEMA disaster or apparent political crisis that corresponded to this trip.
Rice visits Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, 10/14-18; Ramallah, 10/15-17. Rice leaves Jerusalem on 10/18.
Rice’s five day visit to Israel was to push for her Middle East Summit at Annapolis — where there were discussions on the boundaries and timing of a Palestinian state, the forfeiture of Judea and Samaria, pressure to divide Jerusalem, and initial discussions on the sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
- The Dalai Lama visits President Bush on 10/16. President Bush and Congress presents Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal on 10/17.
- Santa Ana winds begin on 10/19 in Southern California; they become hurricane-force winds on 10/20 through 10/22.
- The Southern California wildfires burned 518,066 acres, destroyed 3,097 structures, and damaged 509 structures.
- President Bush declared a major FEMA disaster from Southern California's fires on 10/21 and toured the area on Thursday, 10/25.
Rice leaves for Turkey and Israel, 11/1-2/. She arrives in Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, 11/3; Jerusalem, 11/4-5, Ramallah, 11/5. Leaves Jerusalem on 11/5.
As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on her way to Israel and in Israel to discuss the future of their land there was a major political crisis for the Bush Administration in Pakistan, a sixth major non-FEMA weather event, and record oil-prices and the euro hit a new high against the dollar.
- Rice, Hadley to be subpoenaed in pro-Israel lobby spy case
- Hurricane Noel churning toward Cape Cod and New England
- Pakistian’s Musharaf declares state of emergency
- Pakistan under martial law
- Bush under attack for backing Musharaf and giving Pakistan $10 billion in aide
- Rice arrives in Jerusalem
- Sub-tropical storm Noel plows into Cape Cod and Maine
- Rice meets with Olmert in Jerusalem
- Rice says Pakistan state of emergency `highly regrettable`
- Fayad urges Israel to free 2,000 prisoners ahead of peace summit
- Syria slams U.S. 'interference' in Lebanese presidential elections
- Rice meets with Abbas
- Bush forced to reassess his faith in Musharraf
- Musharraf put in motion a trifecta of trouble for the Bush Administration
- Markets fear banks have $1 trillion in toxic debt
- Rice leaves Jerusalem
- Suicide bomber attacks Afghan lawmakers, at least 64 killed, including five parliamentarians
- Oil hits $97 on bombs, demand prediction
- Euro hits new high vs. dollar in New York
- White House counsel dealt threat of contempt by Congress
Bush, Olmert, and Rice's Quartet Activities and FEMA Events in 2007
There were five major FEMA disaster events and/or clusters of events that coincided with President Bush and/or Rice preparing for a meeting with Olmert, meeting Olmert in Washington, or during Rice's Quartet meetings.
Those occurred during or shortly after …
- Meetings of the Quartet at the State Department
- The time the Bush Administration announced it was giving $59 million to the Palestinians
- The announcement of Olmert's visit to Washington and the meeting of the Quartet in Berlin
- Olmert's actual meeting at the White House
- Olmert evicting Jews from their homes in Hebron and stating it was a time for a Palestinian state and a peace deal due to Bush Administration pressure.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was preparing on Feb. 1 to host the Quartet at the State Department in Washington, D.C. The meetings convened on Feb. 2 to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
- SECRETARY RICE: "I would like to welcome the members of the Quartet to Washington, to the State Department. I especially want to welcome Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to his first Quartet meeting, and our colleague Frank-Walter Steinmeier as the president of the EU to his first meeting of the Quartet." "We have had very fruitful discussions about our desire to see an acceleration of progress toward the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance with the roadmap. These discussions have been very fruitful, and I would now turn to Secretary-General Ban who will, in fact, read the Quartet statement which will also be made available to all of you later."
- As the Quartet was meeting on the future of Israel's land in Washington, D.C., the state of Florida was beginning the "same-day" clean-up from the second-deadliest series of tornadoes in state history.
- President Bush declared a major FEMA disaster from the effects of severe storms and tornadoes during the period of Feb. 1-2, 2007.
- President Bush gave Palestinian President Abbas $59 million. That was followed by Secretary of State Rice's extensive activity in Washington, D.C., regarding the land of Israel — and resultant meetings in Jerusalem between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
- "We are clear to proceed," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said of the $59 million aid plan.
- The Financial Times reported that Israeli and Palestinian leaders met on Sunday, Apr. 15 — after agreeing, under U.S. prodding, to hold biweekly meetings; but aides said key issues remained off the agenda, which focused on economic ties and security concerns in the occupied territories.
- Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks in Jerusalem and agreed to next meet in the West Bank town of Jericho. "It was a good beginning," said Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator. Mr. Olmert's aides said he was prepared to talk about the economic and governmental structures of a future Palestinian state but not about defining its borders or other issues. Israel says there can be no real progress until there are reforms in the militant group Hamas, which shares power with Mr. Abbas' Fatah Party.
Condoleezza Rice urged Israel to give the Palestinians a "political horizon" outlining future statehood, and U.S. officials said that fundamental talks could start later this year.
- President Bush declared major FEMA disasters for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Kentucky for the Apr. 15-16 storms and flooding.
- The White House announced on May 29 that Olmert was to visit the White House on June 19.
- The Quartet met in Berlin on May 30. The Quartet principals agreed to meet in the region in June with the Israelis and Palestinians to review progress and discuss the way forward. The Quartet also agreed to meet in the region with members of the Arab League to follow up on the Arab Peace Initiative and efforts to advance the regional track.
- Rice and the White House continued preparing for the June 18-19 meetings.
- President Bush declared major FEMA disasters for Nebraska's severe storms and flooding of May 28-June 2; North Dakota's severe storms and flooding of June 2-18; and Oklahoma's severe storms, flooding and tornadoes of June 10–July 25.
- Olmert arrived in Washington on Sunday, June 17.
- In preparation for White House talks with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, Olmert met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on June 18 to develop a joint strategy aimed at strengthening Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
- Olmert visited President Bush at the White House on June 19.
- President Bush declared major FEMA disasters for Texas' severe storms, tornadoes and flooding of June 16-18; and New York's severe storms and flooding of June 19.
- Under White House pressure, Olmert forced Jews out of homes in Hebron and declared that now is the time for a Palestinian state (Aug. 7-8).
- President Bush declared a major FEMA disaster for New York due to severe storms, flooding and tornadoes on Aug. 8.