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Friday, December 08, 2006

President Bush forgot the corollary

President Bush and visiting Prime Minister Tony Blair did a fair job of damage control today, the day after the release of the Iraq Study Group report. Particularly when it comes to Israel:
The Baker-Hamilton report submitted to President George W. Bush on Wednesday evening proclaimed the urgent need to advance an immediate Israeli-Arab peace but President Bush took the stage Thursday evening in a joint press conference with UK PM Tony Blair and clarified that he cannot impose an agreement on both sides, no matter how much the US wants to impose it.

The Israelis and Palestinians, he said, need to assume responsibility and sign an agreement and the US will help, but not impose. Bush also went on to say that the demands of the Quartet could not be ignored and that State Secretary Condoleezza Rice was working hard on the matter.


The US administration has flat-out rejected the recommendation of direct talks with Iran and Syria.


He added that when (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert tried to push forward negotiations with the Palestinians, Hizbullah attacked – 'and let there be no mistake - extremists will continue to attack and kill.'

Blair noted that kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit must first be released by his captors before funds are given to the PA. Blair also said that discussions with the Palestinian government were impossible as long as it refused to recognize Israel's right to exist.
Now, now Tony, let's not delude ourselves. It's kind of funny to be saying that Gilad Shalit has to be released before funds are given to the PA when the European Union Eurabia has given the 'Palestinians' $865 million this year - with the Hamas-led government in power.
He said that he was frustrated about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because there is an agreement and a solution that are desired and that is two-states for two peoples, the only question is how that will be achieved.
Tony, if this were about 'two states for two people,' it probably would have been resolved a long time ago. It's not. It's about whether there is going to be a Jewish state in the Middle East, an island of western democracy among twenty-two backwards Islamic states. That's what this is about, and that's why it cannot be resolved no matter how frustrated you get. (On the other hand, based on another statement he made today - see below - Blair does seem to get it. So I don't know where this statement came from).

But Blair is not alone. President Bush also displayed a bit of naivete today:
"Extremists do not want a Palestinian state," said US President George W. Bush during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday.
Come on George, you know better than that. Yes, 'extremists' don't want a 'Palestinian state,' but the corollary is that most 'Palestinians are extremists, and what they want is to destroy the Jewish state.
Blair reiterated Bush's comments, lamenting that it had not been possible to achieve a PA unity government which was committed to the principles of the international community. "The major difficulty is that the Palestinians don't accept Israel's right to exist," added Blair.
Yes, that's right. And note that Blair even said 'the 'Palestinians' don't accept Israel's right to exist.' He got that right too. He didn't limit it to Hamas.

The Washington Post discusses the Syrian and Iranian side of the equation:
Pressed on whether he were willing to engage directly with Iran and Syria as the study group suggests, leaving aside the issues of Iran's nuclear program and other "preconditions," Bush rebuffed that proposal.

"We have made it clear to the Iranians that there is a possible change in U.S. policy," he said. "And that is that, if they would like to engage the United States, that they've got to verifiably suspend their enrichment program." He referred to a demand that Iran give up efforts to enrich uranium and reprocess spent nuclear fuel, activities that Washington believes are intended to produce material for nuclear weapons.

"We've made our choice," Bush said. "Iran now has an opportunity to make its choice. I would hope they would make the choice that most of the free world wants them to make, which is there is no need to have a weapons program. There is no need to isolate your people. There is no need to continue this obstinance when it comes to your stated desires to have a nuclear weapon. It's not in your interests to do so. And should they agree to verifiably suspend their enrichment, the United States will be at the table with our partners."


If Iran and Syria "want to sit down at the table with the United States, it's easy," Bush said. "Just make some decisions that'll lead to peace, not to conflict."

Blair said the issue regarding Iran and Syria "is not a question of being unwilling to sit down with people or not," but of having a clear and accepted basis for the discussions.

"In other words, you support the democratic elected government" of Iraq, he said. "You do not support sectarians, and you do not support, arm or finance terrorists." Britain's own experience in southern Iraq, Blair said, " is that Iran, for example, has been doing that. It's been basically arming, financing, supporting terrorism."

The United States has also accused Iran's ruling Shiite Muslim theocracy of fueling the sectarian violence in Iraq by arming and training Shiite militias involved in death-squad activity against Sunni Muslim Arabs, who form the backbone of Iraq's insurgency.


At 10:52 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Bush's typical naivete is not surprising. It's a pity that Blair is a lame duck, though.


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