President Bush, summing up meetings with both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, said Thursday that a peace accord will require "painful political concessions" by each. Resolving the status of Jerusalem will be hard, he said, and he called for the end of the "occupation" of Arab land by the Israeli military.
What did he mean by "occupation"? We'll get to that later...
In his set of U.S. bottom lines were security for Israel, a "contiguous" state for the Palestinians and the expectation that final borders will be negotiated to accommodate territorial changes since Israel's formation. He also suggested international compensation for Palestinians and their descendants who claim a right to return to land they held before Israel's formation.
Earlier in the day, Bush had said Palestinians deserve better than a "Swiss cheese" state fitted around Israeli land and security bulwarks.
Contiguous state? More then Swiss cheese? Even the most superficial of glances at the map tell a clear story that a Palestinian state encompassing Gaza and the West Bank and which has territorial continuity would break up Israel. How does Israel's security fit in the picture then?
"The point of departure for permanent status negotiations to realize this vision seems clear," he said. "There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish a Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people."
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Bush was referring to the West Bank when he spoke of occupation.
Whoop, there it is! The "occupation" is everything Israel took in the 6 day war in 1967. And that includes parts of Jerusalem. So Bush not going into the specific propositions of solving the Jerusalem problem is actually a moot point.
But how could this have happened? Wasn't Bush "the best friend Israel had in the White House" and "the most pro-Israel president ever"? Well, if you look at the pattern of Bush's behaviour elsewhere, this is hardly surprising.
We need not even leave the United States to give some of the most glaring examples. For years, Bush has been stabbing in the back his conservative, Republican base. The first big issue was the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. She was a relative unknown so at first Republicans went along albeit in a lukewarm fashion. But when people did some research and her leftist views came up(besides the lack of qualifications) the base was up in arms and her nomination went down in flames. The thing that broke the camel's back, however, was the last year's amnesty proposition for the illegal aliens in the USA, stopped only by persistent pressure from grassroots conservative activists. It was the definite divorce between Bush and his (former) base.
There are other examples as well: forcing Pakistan's Musharaff to accept "democratic elections", demanding that Ethiopia withdraws from jihadist-infested Somalia...To anyone who has scratched a bit off the surface of Bush the current development was coming as inevitably as sunrise.
But, don't worry. You can console yourself with the fact that Bush admitted the Allies should have bombed Auschwitz. I'm sure that dispells all the fears.