Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

What Petraeus Actually Said

General thinks Israel is merely one factor in region

Print Email
Gen. Petraeus testifying yesterday.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

According to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Vice President Biden did not, as some had alleged, tell Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israeli settlements endangered U.S. troops. But what about the venerable General David Petraeus, who heads the U.S. military’s Central Command (which is responsible for Central Asia and most of the Middle East)? He reportedly requested that the Palestinian territories be added to CENTCOM’s purview, on the grounds that events there were intimately linked to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We don’t need to guess what exactly Petraeus thinks, because he was quite candid yesterday before a Senate committee. He disclosed that adding the territories to CENTCOM has been discussed but never formally requested. And he argued:

The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the [area of responsibility]. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world.

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hezbullah and Hamas.

In other words: Everything is connected, but Petraeus does not perceive the Palestinian conflict as having an overwhelming effect on other conflicts.

Military journalist and historian Max Boot confirms that Petraeus never made this request. Speaking to a military source, Boot reports that Petraeus really does believe what he told the committee and that he does not think the settlement question creates the U.S. military’s biggest challenges over there. “In other words,” Boot concludes, “the current crisis in Israeli-U.S. relations cannot be laid at the American military’s door.”

Is General Petraeus Behind Obama’s Dressing Down of Israel? [Contentions]
The Petraeus Briefing: Biden’s Embarassment Is Not the Whole Story [Foreign Policy]
Petraeus Throws Support to Mitchell Peace Efforts [Laura Rozen]
Earlier: Did Biden Link Israel to the Troops’ Safety?

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

What Petraeus Actually Said

General thinks Israel is merely one factor in region

More on Tablet:

Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS

By Lee Smith — Because they want the same things that teenage boys want: a strong sense of meaning and purpose