Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Regarding Bush's support for the Israeli decision on Gaza and the West Bank, I think it describes reality, which is one thing that really pisses people off about Bush. Consider the Kyoto treaty on global warming. During the Clinton Administration the Senate voted 95-0 against even considering ratification, even though Al Gore had signed it on behalf of the US. In other words, "sign whatever you want, but don't even bother sending it to us to ratify. It's DOA."

So why does Bush get slammed for taking the treaty off the table? Because he said out loud what everyone knew to be the truth- Kyoto is going nowhere so we might as well admit it and move on. Clinton would hem and haw about maybe reworking some of the more troubling aspects, and maybe with some more tweaking we can resubmit, blahblahblah. That is how the diplomatic world likes to do things. Keep having meetings, going out to lunch, more meetings, going out to dinner, meanwhile nothing is accomplished and the problems remain for more meetings, lunches and dinners.

I think this is a similar situation. Bush has always said that the Palestinians have to do something about the terrorist infrastructure that has been set up in the West Bank and Gaza. I don't think he could have been more clear about it considering all his statements about terrorism (by the way, I love how al-Reuters continues to refer to "terrorism", with the sneer quotes) and how it has to be eradicated.

What has been the Palestinian response? Actually, they may have gone the opposite direction according to this story on how Arafat was probably involved in the murder of three American diplomats (that's aside from the other Americans he'd been involved in killing: http://www.menewsline.com/stories/2004/april/04_14_1.html If Arafat thought he was going to get concessions from this President after something like that he's even stupider than people think. I think this is Bush finally giving up on a negotiated settlement. Israel is going to do what it needs to do, finish their wall and leave the Palestinians to deal with reality for once in their miserable lives.

There are certain facts on the ground that the Pals need to finally recognize. Israel won all the wars the Pals started against them. If that means the eventual Palestinian state isn't going to look like what it might have in 1949 then so be it. That was the Palestinian's choice. They could have had peace and a country at any time over the past fifty years (particularly in 2000). But at an Arab League meeting in Khartoum after the 1967 war they came up with what came to be known as "the three nos": No recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel and no peace with Israel. They've stuck to that ever since, with the exception of Anwar Sadat, and that agreement cost Sadat his life, even if it did get the Sinai returned to Egypt.

Not having seen what the final map will look like it's hard to know what the Pals will be left with for a country. It's going to be problematic no matter what, since large segments of the Arab population will refuse to accept Israel even if it means more war. Peace matters less to them than winning, even if winning is impossible. As Golda Meier said in the 60s: There will be peace in the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate Jews. These are not people with a firm grasp of reality, and I think it's time they had some thrust upon them.


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