President Bush abandons IsraelAt Eternity Road, Aaron expresses some of the frustration with President Bush that I know others (including me) are feeling:
Read the whole thing.
I had higher hopes for President Bush, who began his term in office with a fairly sensible pro-Israel policy. Many have pointed out that President Bush has done quite a bit to advance the Palestinian cause, and perhaps he has, but he never seemed willing to completely throw Israel over the boat as some others might have. Before today, I was willing to believe that the current round of negotiations in Annapolis would amount to nothing more than the usual farce that always results when one deals with the Palestinians, but then I woke up and this speech:
The Israelis must do their part. They must show the world that they are ready to begin—to bring an end to the occupation that began in 1967 through a negotiated settlement. This settlement will establish Palestine as a Palestinian homeland, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people. Israel must demonstrate its support for the creation of a prosperous and successful Palestinian state by removing unauthorized outposts, ending settlement expansion, and finding other ways for the Palestinian Authority to exercise its responsibilities without compromising Israel’s security.
The highlighted section represents an enormous reversal of policy from Bush’s previously stated position that he would not support a solution which shrank Israel’s borders to their 1949 position. Furthermore, keep in mind that this is not just a proposal for an end goal in an eventual peace settlemnt; Bush is actually asking that Israel concede its most strategic territory as a starting point for negotiations. Thus, having enormously weakened its bargaining position, Israel will then be in a position to demand...what, exactly, from the Palestinians? Certainly not security guarantees or resource sharing agreements which Israel would be in no position to enforce, and does anybody think Palestine or the other Arab states would be more willing to take Israel’s claim of its right to existence seriously after it had shown such weakness? I cannot believe I am hearing this from a president whose overall foreign policy, despite suffering problems in the execution, has been basically sensible. This is sheer lunacy, and Israel should walk away from the negotiations immediately before its continued presence risks placing a stamp of legitimacy on this hideous idea.
More generally, the Annapolis negotiations are representative of a fundamental flaw in our approach towards Israel.