February 7, 2005


Israel fears Condi the peacemaker (Tony Allen-Mills, Washington and Uzi Mahnaimi, Jerusalem, 2/06/05, Sunday Times of London)

THE new US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, arrives in Jerusalem today amid mounting Israeli concern that it can no longer rely on unswerving political support from Washington.

The prospect of a revived American push for the creation of a Palestinian state during President George W Bush’s second term has sent shockwaves through government circles in Jerusalem. Rice’s unique status as both America’s most glamorous diplomat and Bush’s closest foreign policy adviser has riveted attention on her maiden peacemaking mission.

After four years of US indifference to Middle East negotiation, Israeli officials fear Washington’s priorities are shifting, and that Rice’s arrival may preface a period of intense pressure for a new Palestinian deal.

The death of Yasser Arafat and the emergence of Mahmoud Abbas as the new leader of the Palestinian Authority have transformed the region’s politics and raised the tantalising possibility of an end to the four-year-old intifada, the blood-soaked Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

Rice brings fresh commitment to push for Middle East peace (Ian MacKinnon, 2/07/05, Times of London)
THE US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, stamped her personal seal on Middle East peace overtures yesterday as she arrived in Israel on her first visit to the region since she assumed office last month.

Meetings with Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, last night and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, this morning signalled Washington’s re-engagement and a fresh willingness to push for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The talks, amid a new mood of optimism created by a tacit ceasefire the Palestinian leader has wrung from militant factions, came as the Israeli and Palestinian leaders prepared to meet tomorrow for the first time in more than four years.

“This is a time of optimism because fundamental changes are under way in the Middle East as a whole,” Dr Rice said.

“I most especially want to bring the personal commitment of President Bush and my own personal commitment to this process because this is a time of opportunity and it is a time that we must seize.” She insisted that Israel must make “the hard decisions” to facilitate peace and the creation of a Palestinian state, while the Palestinian leadership must make good on its commitment to end the violence.

The Palestinians have done what the President ordered them to--now it's time for statehood.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 7, 2005 8:19 AM

What are these people talking about? Pretty much every poll of the Jewish population in Israel taken on the matter of statehood for the so-called 'Palestinians' indicates an overwhelming margin in favor. Israelis don't want to be Spartans. That has been shown in poll after poll and election after election. The 'settlements' on land in Judea and Samaria liberated from Arab terror will for the most part be uprooted, and their populations represent at most a small fraction of that of Israel.

There are plenty of issues that will cause angst along the way; e.g. the definition of Jerusalem, the 'right of return' of the so-called 'Palestinians', access to Jewish religious sites under Arab control, but the fundamental question of whether there will be a state for those Arabs in the region discontented with being ruled from Amman by the descendants of a British stooge has already been settled.

Posted by: Bart at February 7, 2005 8:31 AM

The phrase "after four years of indifference" is either a condescending or an ignorant (can it be both?) assessment of Bush's very deliberate policy of separating the thugs from the potential statesmen within the Palestinian camp. On the (hopefully) eve of a realistic meeting of the minds between Israelis and Palestinians, one would have to be a cynic not to ascribe some "intelligent design" to success. (Of course, if the Left's/intelligentsia can now say that the Iraqi elections would have happened any way -- through some unspecified mechanism -- ...)

Posted by: Moe from NC at February 7, 2005 8:55 AM