Vice President Dick Cheney met on Sunday with Israeli and Palestinian leaders here and in the West Bank city of Ramallah in what American officials described as a bid to move the peace process forward.
But Israeli officials seemed more interested in seeking Mr. Cheney’s input on broader regional issues, chief among them the perceived threat from Iran, while Palestinian officials expressed deep pessimism about the peace process and prospects of success.
Welcoming Mr. Cheney at a joint press conference at his residence here on Saturday night, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel, pointedly placed Iran before the peace process as one of “the many items on the common agenda” to be discussed.
“We are both very concerned about Iran; we are anxious to carry on the peace negotiations with the Palestinians,” Mr. Olmert said, adding Lebanon, Syria and the attacks on Israel from Gaza to the list.
Although Mr. Cheney only has a few months left in office, an Israeli official said he is seen in Jerusalem as “a significant player” who can influence “serious issues that cannot wait.”
Considered a hawkish member of the Bush administration, Mr. Cheney offered robust support for Israel before sitting down for dinner with Mr. Olmert on Saturday night.
“America’s commitment to Israel’s security is enduring and unshakable, as is our commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other threats from forces dedicated to Israel’s destruction,” Mr. Cheney said. The United States, he said, “will never pressure Israel to take steps that threaten its security.”
Mr. Cheney, who is not known for previous involvement in the details of the peace process, sounded a little less committal regarding the Palestinians. He said that “history has clearly shown” that Israelis were prepared to make sacrifices for peace when they encountered Arab partners like Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and the late King Hussein of Jordan, “who accepted Israel’s permanence, and are willing and capable of delivering on their commitments.”
Someone should just scoop up the entire Middle East (along with Cheney) and all of the warring piss ants over there and put them on Mars. That place has been a center of strife for too long.
What about oil? One site’s stats on oil say this:
Amount of U.S. oil consumption that comes from U.S. production: 7.3 mbd, or 42 percent. We produce fifty percent more oil than Iraq and Kuwait, almost as much oil as Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. Nevertheless, we import more than half the oil we use.
Amount of U.S. oil consumption that comes from the Middle East: 2 mbd — 12 percent, only three percent from Iraq and Kuwait. The rest of our imported oil comes from places like Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Nigeria, Algeria, Ecuador, and England. -sustainer