(WASHINGTON) An expert who's being consulted by the Baker-Hamilton committee, the special bipartisan committee for Iraq, says the committee will recommend that President George W. Bush exert pressure on Israel to make political concessions to soften Arab countries and assist in improving the situation in Iraq.
The committee, which is headed by former secretary of state James Baker and former Democratic representative Lee Hamilton, is expected to submit its final report on Wednesday.
The New York Sun newspaper reported Thursday that Raymond Close, an expert advising the committee, is in favor of engaging Iran and Syria.
Close, who retired from the CIA in 1977, and has been doing business in Saudi Arabia since his retirement, expects the report to recommend that Israel be pressured to make concessions.
A memorandum sent to expert advisors Close says that the commission is likely to advice the Bush administration holds a summit, which will include Israel, "to enlist the support of neighboring states in establishing stability in Iraq," the New York Sun reported.
Israel might have to give up Golan
Close said that Israel's participation in the summit is crucial as it will give the US the only leverage to enlist the support of Iran and Syria in helping to curb violence in Iraq.
"To have any realistic chance of success, I believe that the process would have to start with the announcement of a major initiative, promoted and vigorously supported by the United States, to reach a comprehensive resolution to the Israel-Arab crisis through a process of reasonable compromise and accommodation between Israel and its Arab neighbors," Close wrote.
Close said Israel might try to sabotage attempts to hold such a summit.
Although he didn't specify which concessions Israel should make, he writes that the Jewish State and its North American ally should make "significant modifications" to their strategy.
Close writes that the United States should not allow Syria to regain its sway over Lebanon but "perhaps the US will have to put pressure on Israel to make territorial concessions in the Golan."