Friday, June 17, 2005

Is the WH Really Committed to Peace in Israel?

The WaPo has an interesting Op/Ed piece this morning by President Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and a senior member of his staff William B. Quandt. The article assumes that President Bush makes his own decisions, which, we all know, is not true. A committee in the White House decides what President Bush thinks and what President Bush will say. However, accepting the myth for a moment that Bush thinks for himself, Brzezinski and Quandt say in the article that “the statement President Bush delivered at the conclusion of his recent meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deserves serious attention”. The President said, "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." This clearly outlined restatement of America's long-held position regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict is important and necessary at this particular time, Brzezinski and Quandt say, if the Bush administration truly has a goal to promote peace in the Middle East. But the important thing is for Americans to keep an eye on what President Bush (that is, the Bush administration) actually does in the next few months. Bush has seemed to back Sharon's adamant refusal to ever pull out of the Gaza strip. So, does our White House actually feel that Israel should pull out, or does it agree with Sharon that it never should pull out? Brzezinski and Quandt say that it's all well and good for the White House to sound as though it believes peace can only come to Israel/Palestine if the armistice lines of 1949 are adhered to, but let's carefully monitor what Bush and Secretary of State Condi Rice actually DO in the next few months. As all the recent polls show, President Bush's approval rating on all major issues has sunk to a new low. An AP report this morning says that Bush will make a speech on June 28 (the one-year anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty from U.S forces to Iraqis) to calm fears about Iraq. He also plans a major public relations campaign in the form of radio addresses and personal appearances to try to shore up his sagging popularity and to gain support for his policies. This means that President George W. Bush will be telling monumental lies and saying anything, no matter how untrue and preposterous if it will rehabilitate his image. Therefore, we must particularly be mindful that the Bush administration's recent backtracking to former Presidents' views on Israel/Palestine may only be public relations hype and should not be taken seriously. Watch and see what the Bush administration actually does regarding Israel. But don't for one minute believe a word George W. Bush says between now and January 2006. The White House is desperate and it will promise anything.

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