April 8, 2003

GETTING TO "YES":

Bush to Focus on Palestinians After Saddam Is Gone (Adam Entous, April 8, 2003, Reuters)
President Bush promised on Tuesday to turn his focus to settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was removed from power.

Bush held out the Northern Ireland peace process, spearheaded by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as a possible model, saying he was "willing to spend the same amount of energy in the Middle East."

"The end of Saddam's regime will ... remove a source of violence and instability in the Middle East," Bush said after his third face-to-face meeting in less than a month with Blair, his main ally in invading Iraq.

At Blair's urging, Bush has promised to publish a so-called "road map" peace plan, which envisions creation of a Palestinian state by 2005, as soon as Palestinian lawmakers confirm a new cabinet under prime minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas, widely known as Abu Mazen.

Saying he was "pleased" with the selection, Bush told reporters after a two-day summit meeting: "I look forward to him (Abbas) finally putting his cabinet in place so we can release the road map."

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Arafat was undermining Abbas's bid to establish a government committed to reform and the premier-designate was considering pulling out rather than presenting his cabinet on Thursday as expected.

A senior Palestinian minister close to Arafat denied the report. "There are no pressures being exerted on Abu Mazen. Any talk about this is completely unfounded," Saeb Erekat said.


Victory in Iraq isn't enough: Israel holds the key to peace (Anton La Guardia, 09/04/2003, Daily Telegraph)
In advocating freedom from Arab tyrants, America and Britain must also be champions of freedom for Palestinians. Israelis would rightly resent an imposed settlement, but despite the Right-ward move in Israeli politics, there is a deep desire to see the end of the conflict.

This requires a more trustworthy Palestinian leader than Arafat. It needs a man who, like Nelson Mandela, finds the words and actions to address the fears of the more powerful foe. But it also needs an Israeli leader who can give confidence that, should violence end, then the occupation of 1967 will also end.

Having completed his father's unfinished war, Mr Bush should also complete the peace started by his father with the Madrid conference of 1991.


Obviously the best alternative as regards Palestine would be a leader who would accept the statehood that is implicit in any talks with Israel and that has been offered repeatedly, most generously by Ehud Barak. The difficulty that Abu Mazen is having putting together a cabinet is a hopeful sign, because it suggests he is indeed independent from Arafat. If he is and if he's ready to be the Father of his country, a deal is there for the making, though it will not entail all that Barak offered.
Posted by Orrin Judd at April 8, 2003 8:49 PM
Comments

This is a pretty good example of the ridiculous language (and sloppy thinking) used to describe the conflict

and its resolution.



* "'Any talk about [pressures being exerted on Abu Mazen by Arafat] is completely unfounded'" according to Saeb Erekat. (Mr. Credibility himself.)



* "In advocating freedom from Arab tyrants, America and Britain must also be champions of freedom for Palestinians." (Who themselves are champions of Saddam Hussein.)



* "This requires a more trustworthy Palestinian leader than Arafat." (More trustworthy? That's a profound one. What about less bloodthirsty? Though neither of these two options is terribly difficult to achieve.)



* "It needs a man...like Nelson Mandela...." (Who himself is 100% behind Yasir Arafat.)



* "But it also needs an Israeli leader who can give confidence that, should violence end, then the occupation of 1967 will also end." (Pragmatically, opening up the Resolution 242 can of worms again; "return territories for peace" (English version); "return THE territories for peace?" (French version). Ignoring that no Israeli leader can, either politically or with good conscience, return 100% of the West Bank to Palestine---so for it to happen, it will have to be forced down Israel's throat (and I'm not talking about settlements here, but strategic topography); keeping in mind, though, that even this would not satisfy Palestinian demands for repatriating refugees within pre-1967 Israel.)



* "Having completed his father's unfinished war, Mr. Bush should also complete the peace started by his father with the Madrid conference of 1991." (As though trying to achieve that goal has been utterly neglected for the past 12 years; as though George W. Bush is responsible for this abominable situation and can "complete the process." It's just that simple.)



Well, at least on this last point, let's hope that Dubya can "make it so."

Posted by: Barry Meislin at April 9, 2003 9:14 AM
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