The entire situation here.
Many things that call for discussion can be put aside until tomorrow. I would like here to touch only upon the most intolerable elements of our situation.
President Bush arrived this morning, bringing with him (incredibly!) a contingent of 100 prominent American Jews, all of whom seem to think it’s just peachy keen that the president is promoting those "peace negotiations" with Abbas.
Bush was, of course, welcomed with the most lavish praise from the heads of our government. And Bush, for his part, expressed great admiration for us and pledged undying friendship.
It is important, however, to take a closer look at what Bush has said, and what he is advocating.
He has a plan, you see: He thinks that we need to set our borders once and for all, and that this will help move things along. The borders? Well, you can’t give the Palestinians "Swiss cheese" for a state and expect them to be happy. If we’re going to make those Palestinians happy, they have to be offered a contiguous state.
And what of the Bush commitment to our retention of major settlement blocs, presumably incorporated into the letter he had written to Sharon? As Post editor David Horovitz wrote, after interviewing Bush: "On borders, Swiss cheese trumps a 4-year old letter."
Horovitz reports that Bush said: "We… try to make sure that the Palestinians understand that we believe in the contiguous state…How can you have a hopeful place if you’re not really in charge of a contiguous territory?… It won’t be a viable state."
Just the other day I wrote about how sometimes I report on a situation, and how, almost before my eyes, it will metamorphose into something else. It’s not long since Abbas came back from his meeting with Bush very depressed because he learned that the president wasn’t going to push us on the settlements. Then I wrote that just possibly Bush would come through on his commitment given to Sharon.
How does that dovetail with what Bush is saying now? Not terribly well. Many analysts see Rice’s influence here.
But there’s more to the plan. Once Abbas is happy about those borders, it is reasoned, he may be willing to compromise on the issue of "right of return."
Unfortunately, Rice has a short memory , because (as I reported here) not long ago Jordan’s King Abdullah warned her that if Abbas were pushed into a compromise such as this, his life would be in danger. Abbas, even if he wanted to, does not have the latitude to give away what the Palestinians see as a key "right." Hamas is breathing down his neck.
Bush made a statement today about US loyalty to Israel. In part, it went like this: "…we will stand with Israel against the nuclear threat." And I ponder what that means. To me it sounds like: You take care of it, and we’ll be right behind you. The only tolerable statement would be one that pledges in simple terms not to let Iran go nuclear.
We endured another terrorist attack today. This was a Grad Katyusha, shot at a shopping mall in Ashkelon. Fifteen were wounded, including three seriously, when a part of the roof caved in. Among those seriously injured were a mother and her three-year old daughter.
This was surely timed by terrorists (Islamic Jihad claimed credit) for Bush’s visit. In several places, including in Judea and Samaria, there were protests at Bush’s coming to celebrate our independence.
Olmert was just concluding a meeting with Bush when the attack occurred. Olmert’s subsequent comment was not easy to swallow:
"We will not be able to tolerate continuous attacks on innocent civilians. We hope we will not have to act against Hamas in other ways with the military power that Israel hasn’t yet started to use in a serious manner in order to stop it."
We will not be able to tolerate? We have BEEN tolerating, shamefully. We hope we won’t have to act? What kind of nonsensical, empty threat is that? We must act. And note: military power that Israel hasn’t yet started to use in a serious manner. In the name of all those suffering under the rocket barrages, I ask, and why not??
Channel two cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying, "We are on a certain path of an extensive military confrontation with Hamas." So, when already?
Information is that the IDF is ready and only awaits political go-ahead.
And this, heaven help us , was Bush’s comment on the attack:
"We believe that the surest way to defeat the enemies…is to advance the cause of hope, the cause of freedom, liberty as the great alternative to tyranny and terror."
Will someone please tell this man that the only way to defeat tyranny and terror is by defeating it, not by bringing "hope." Once upon a time, he seemed to know this.
And the last intolerable of this report:
In a conference in the Egyptian parliament , Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni is reported to have said that he "would burn Israeli books himself if found in Egyptian libraries."
This is going to put a considerable strain on our relationship with Egypt.