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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

President Bush abandons Israel

At Eternity Road, Aaron expresses some of the frustration with President Bush that I know others (including me) are feeling:

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.
Read the whole thing.


At 2:06 AM, Blogger Bret said...

I think there's a significant change y'all are misinterpreting Bush.

One way to bring the end to an occupation is for all parties to agree that the land is now Israel's, from now on. Then it's no longer occupied territory - it's part of Israel.

It seems unlikely to me that Bush hopes that Israel withdraws to the 1949 Borders.

At 4:45 AM, Blogger Yishai said...

Hold on a sec...

Here's a gesture of support from Bush on the Iran issue:

Bush: US will support Israel if it is attacked by Iran


At 8:47 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


That statement is completely meaningless. This is what he said:

"I have made it clear absolutely that we will support our ally Israel if attacked by Iran," he said. "I hope it doesn't happen, but you're asking me to answer a hypothetical. My answer is and they've got to understand that we support Israel if Iran attacks it."

Even the Post points out that it's not clear whether he meant military support.

And what does it mean to say that the US is going to support Israel "if it is attacked." The whole point is to prevent an attack from happening, not to provide first aid once an attack has already happened.

I pointed out earlier this month that the US has given up on preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Stopping Iran would be the one real way of supporting Israel.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


If you really believe that the US is anticipating that the parties will agree that the land is now Israel's, I'd like to get whatever you're taking. Unfortunately, you're fantasizing.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Yishai said...

yes, but. It is positive indication that the US will not be dragging Israel down from a full response like they did many other previous wars. While Bush did not promise direct military assistance, the US would of be great help if they continued selling Israel bombs, planes and logistical support. A loan of a couple of refueling tankers would be nice, too.

Preventative measures are completely left out of the statement, you're right. I'd like to say that the US would not impede defensive first strikes, but it's not entirely clear if the White House would prefer Israel take one up the a$$ first.

At 6:05 PM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

This statement, along with all of his other inconsisent and ludicrous statements mean nothing. Bush had made sure whether by design or accident that his words mean nothing. His promises to Sharon in exchange for surrender of Gaza - vanished into the sinkhole of history, chasing his June 2002 speech. He has no credibility.

What one should worry about are his actions. Sending more military equipment and training to Abbas. Forcing Israel to do the same. These are the dangers, not his meaningless wobbly sloganeering about peaceful aspirations, blessed holy Palestinians, and brave terrorists of peace. Bush's words mean nothing.

It is Olmert's words I worry for. He has shown that he means what he says. He is a dictator protected by the military which carries out his orders to stomp on his opposition and also what might as well be a state run media who protect him so long as he furthers their post-zionist defeatist aims.

I pray the next Israeli government is not so corrupt or cowardly as this one.

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

J. Lichty,

Keep praying. If the past is any indication, the odds aren't good.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

You're right Carl, the odds aren't good, but the State of Israel is a miracle - it has survived and flourished despite its enemies from without and within, so what's another miracle, eh?


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