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May 8, 2004
Bush to Arafat: No Rush

George Bush made it clear that in order to proceed to a two-state solution in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinians need to stop terrorism and begin complying with the road map, starting with security issues. Otherwise, the timetables will be adjusted accordingly, according to the BBC:

US President George W Bush has said the deadline for setting up a Palestinian state has slipped due to violence and a change of Palestinian leaders. "I think the timetable of 2005 is not as realistic as it was two years ago," Mr Bush told Egypt's al-Ahram daily. ...

Mr Bush said the US remained committed to the internationally-accepted peace plan for the Middle East - the roadmap, and would underline this with a letter to Mr Qurei.

"Well, 2005 may be hard, since 2005 is right around the corner. I readily concede the date has slipped some, primarily because violence sprung up."

I have argued in the past about the self-defeating nature of a policy that stampedes towards a Palestinian state when its leadership openly supports terrorism in Israel. Even Iran works through proxies, but the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade openly takes credit for its mass murder of Israeli citizens, and the AAMB is known to be part of Yasser Arafat's own Fatah faction within the PLO. The excuse given is that the Palestinian Authority has the right to fight against occupation, but none of the apologists can explain how blowing up pizza parlors and civilian buses filled with Israeli citizens qualifies as acceptable military action.

The EU has pressured Bush to indicate more support for the two-state solution, and he has tried to walk a fine line in doing so. Its implementation is an impossibility when the Palestinians themselves, in their words and actions, argue against the two-state solution and insist on the extermination of Israel. Bush strikes exactly the right note in his statement: get on the bus instead of blowing it up, and we'll talk. Otherwise, we're in no rush to grant sovereignty to a pack of terrorists.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 8, 2004 8:55 AM

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