Bush’s Palestinian policy

I’m in New Zealand. More on that later. But meanwhile I just wanted to make note of this very sensible op-ed by Zbigniew Brzezinski and William B. Quandt in Friday’s WaPo.
They note this:

    The statement President Bush delivered at the conclusion of his recent meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deserves serious attention. It has been much discussed by the Israeli press but drew scant commentary in the U.S. media. The president, in his formal presentation, declared that any final-status agreement between Palestinians and Israelis “must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 armistice lines must be mutually agreed to.”
    Lest there be any misunderstanding, the president said that “Israel should not undertake any activity that contravenes road map obligations or prejudices final-status negotiations with regard to Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. . . . A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity of the West Bank. And a state of scattered territories will not work. There must also be meaningful linkages between the West Bank and Gaza. This is the position of the United States today. It will be the position of the United States at the time of final-status negotiations.”
    Bush’s declaration was a significant and helpful restatement of some long-held American positions. If these principles are actively embedded in Washington’s policies over the months ahead, they could help further the president’s stated goals of resolving the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, promoting democracy in the Middle East and undercutting support for Islamist terrorism…

Quite true. But the fact that Bush’s statement to Abu Mazen has received so little notice in the US press, and no real follow-up in the conduct of US diplomacy, leaves me thinking that maybe the statement was just a diplomatic flash-in-the-pan, designed to appease Abu Mazen very briefly but not really to steer US policy in any tangible way at all.
Of course, I’d love to be proved wrong…

12 thoughts on “Bush’s Palestinian policy”

  1. It is all just the usual Bushit, nothing more. He will never back it up with action. And anyway, it is too late. Too many facts on the ground already. We are headed toward a single state solution. The only thing really in question is what will be the nature of that state.

  2. There is no evidence that we are headed toward any solution. The Palestinians have the largest number of paramilitary factions per capita on the planet, and agreeing between themselves on where to dine is a protracted and forceful affair in itself.
    Shirin’s suggestion that it is too late reinforces what I always note, the policy of settlements is not only rational but also effective in turning the tables on the Palestinian’s attrition and demographic waiting game.

  3. The President himself probably doesn’t know whether the statement is a diplomatic flash-in-the-pan or not. Presidents of the US get buffeted by the swirling forces of mideast politics.
    If either the Arabs or the Israelis don’t like the results of final status negotiations then they can then point to a Presidential statement to back up their discontent. Such pointing will be meaningless posturing — a dance of defeat on a world stage jaded with the bloody history of the last century.
    Statements such as the “Contiguity of the West Bank” are meaningless. It is already contiguous.
    Presidents who bet their political future on a Mideast outcome should remember the fate of Carter (lost in the sands of Iran), of Reagan (arms for hostages, blow up in Beirut), of Bush I (not re-elected despite Gulf War I) and of Clinton (embarrassed by the second intifada). Episodic diplomacy timed to ripen by the schedule of the US election cycle puts the US president at the mercy of mideast actors who live in a longer timescale.
    The Arab-Israeli conflict will be settled when one side or another determines that further warfare will only put at risk their vital heartland and population, and sue for peace. Very few military conflicts in history have ever been settled by compromise and negotiation. Only the destructiveness of warfare generates the raw fear and weary desire for peace that can move a leadership and a nation to favor compromise over conquest.
    The globe-wide decades-long fascination with the conflicts in the region of Palestine has served only to preserve and prolong the agony of the participants. Like a pair of scorpions held in a bottle, prevented from issuing the final fatal sting, but encouraged to repeatedly torture each other with endless small stings, the Palestinians and the Israelis fight on with small weapons in small battles to the entertainment of a sadistic world community that busies itself placing a series of small bets on the outcome. And the UN is just one of the casinos in this blood sport.

  4. David wrote:
    “The Palestinians have the largest number of paramilitary factions per capita on the planet, and agreeing between themselves on where to dine is a protracted and forceful affair in itself.”
    Your statistics are as warped as your arguments. Your arguments suggests that deciding where to dine might be a subject more suited to your powers of reasoning.

  5. So, it’s Bush’s fault even when he says and does things that you like? But you’d like to be proved wrong!?
    That’s not the impression I get at all :p
    What would you do, if you ever had to admit that your opinions were wrong? I mean, you never HAVE, have you?
    I realize I make a lot of assumptions about you, but making assumptions about extremists is an easy thing to do 😀

  6. Oh goodness, we have a lot of people with a small knowledge base commenting here today, don’t we?
    “Deciding where to dine”… What on earth is David talking about? As though most Palestinians are living this grand middle-class lifestyle there in the occupied territories ??
    “The West Bank is already contiguous”… Yes of course the land is, in a raw physical sense. But for Palestinians living there, in their ancestral homeland, their communities are very, very far from being contiguous– as anyone who has ever spent even half a day there seeing the roadblocks, lockdowns, complete apartheid on the road systems etc, can clearly understand.
    And Craig, of course you don’t know me. I have reconsidered my opinions on many occasions when faced with empirical evidence. None of which you present. Calling me a name like “extremist” is easy but, I’m afraid, quite meaningless. If it makes you feel good, I’m happy for you.

  7. The West Bank is already contiguous.
    There are no islands of Palestinian residence that cannot be made into peninsulas with tiny changes. Actually, I’m not even sure there is even one island any more. People live very well with curvy borders and cul-de-sacs.
    The roadblocks, lockdowns, and separation on the roads are a response to the military attack that is the Intifada. Apparently using non-violent means as a counter to violent murderous military attack is gives Helena indigestion; I guess she wants the Israelis to offer themselves up as targets for slaughter. If the Arafat had not sabotaged the negotiations by “Turning over the table” on Clinton and launching the Intifada, there would be peace and prosperity in the West Bank today.
    Calling the road separation Apartheid is nothing but a deliberately dishonest slander. If the separation were racially motivated, it would have preceded the Intifada. Instead, it just the Israeli way avoiding being shot at.
    The street signs in Israeli Jerusalem are in Hebrew, Arabic and English, so that everybody can get along. This is not the sign of a culture dominated by racial theories.

  8. one despairs of the whole situation . The power of the Zionist lobbies in the USA and the influence of the powerful Jewish community in the USA make all American innitiatives there suspect. Truly there is a very real problem here…call it the Jewish problem is you like, but the arrogance and stubboness of the Zionists makes all peace initiaties next to impossible And how should the Palestians react to the most recent instalment of the long program of land-theft ,which first began in the 1920″iesand has been part of the “State of Israel” since its incept.They must continuie the struggle!

  9. .call it the Jewish problem is you like, but the arrogance and stubboness of the Zionists makes all peace initiaties next to impossible
    This is priceless. On a threat which finds Helena disowning the extremist label and ridiculing her right wing opponents’ ignorance.
    Helena, why are you silent around those who use ‘Zionist’ as a pejorative and who lament Palestine’s ‘Jewish problem’?

  10. Helena, Thanks for pointing out that 1949 reference and yes, it is amazing that so many news organisations overlooked it. I can only assume they realised that the Bush administration had no intention of insisting on this. It’s hard to reconcile with Bush’s promise to Sharon last year that Israel could keep some West Bank territory to reflect new realities — i.e. the land seizures of the past 38 years. Unless Bush says it again, I would be inclined to dismiss it too.

  11. Menno,
    Let’s see your numbers, 13 Palestinian armed terrorist organizations for 3-5 million people. Where can you find more?
    Your turn buddy.

  12. ) in 29 brief, lyrical “tangos” (which are buy ronaldinho kind of like stanzas, only a lot more romantic) _ that have little quotations from Keats in campiglio front of each. Basically, it’s Girl-meets-Boy, buy swept online Girl-gets-Boy, Girl-and-Boy-grow-old-and-get-tired-of-each-other. order dave chapelle A marriage, in other words. Narrated mostly rivaldo online by the wife, it becomes quickly lugubrious buy prinz in a sort of Liv Ullmann/Sylvia Plath-ish _ kind of way (“I believe / your taxi is here dan browne she said. / He looked down at the street. buy cristina applegate online She was right. It stung him, / the pathos order anika sorenstam of her keen hearing”), but it is a vivid portrait princes online all the same, razor-sharp and as quick as buy r9 a flea. The lightness of touch is the saving _ grace

Comments are closed.