Thursday, April 15, 2004

This Does Not Sound Like a Good Thing

I am no expert on the Israel/Palestinian conflict, but this just doesn’t sound like the roadmap to peace:

For the first time in American diplomacy in the Middle East, Mr. Bush announced that major Jewish settlements on the West Bank had achieved the status they aimed for: rooted “facts on the ground,” or, as Mr. Bush called them, “already existing major Israeli population centers.” The innovative, though risky, element in Mr. Sharon’s strategy was to trade his concessions in Gaza and the West Bank not to the Palestinians as part of a negotiated agreement but to the Americans, over outraged Palestinian opposition.

For Israel, the risk is that the Palestinians will now reject as imposed on them any peace plan along the lines Mr. Bush laid out, in his White House statement and a letter he gave Mr. Sharon. For the United States, the risk is that, with Arabs and Muslims already suspicious of American motives, the Bush administration will be seen as teaming with Israel to void Palestinian rights.

Mr. Bush emphasized his support for an eventual Palestinian state. He repeatedly indicated that he was merely sketching the realistic outline of any peace agreement, as suggested by past, American-brokered negotiations over issues like settlements and the right of return. But Palestinians were not mollified. [New York Times]

I think the diplomatic term for this is “pissing on the campfire.”