When I wrote, in Fighting over a trash pile,
Iâ€™m sure that this is somehow George Bushâ€™s fault!
I figured it wouldn’t be long before President Bush got blamed for the Palestinian civil war. Apparently “long” meant today:
- Hamas takeover shows failure of Bush’s vision
With turmoil in Gaza, hopes for a two-state solution dwindling quickly
By Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post
WASHINGTON – Five years ago this month, President Bush stood in the Rose Garden and laid out a vision for the Middle East that included Israel and a state called Palestine living together in peace. “I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror,” the president declared.
The takeover this week of the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group dedicated to the elimination of Israel demonstrates how much that vision has failed to materialize, in part because of actions taken by the administration. The United States championed Israel’s departure from the Gaza Strip as a first step toward peace and then pressed both Israelis and Palestinians to schedule legislative elections, which Hamas unexpectedly won. Now Hamas is the unchallenged power in Gaza.
After his reelection in 2004, Bush said he would use his “political capital” to help create a Palestinian state by the end of his second term. In his final 18 months as president, he faces the prospect of a shattered Palestinian Authority, a radical Islamic state on Israel’s border and increasingly dwindling options to turn the tide against Hamas and create a functioning Palestinian state.
“The two-state vision is dead. It really is,” said Edward G. Abington Jr., a former State Department official who was once an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The so-called “two-state solution” has been the basis of virtually every peace proposal since the 1967 war. Look back through the archives of Foreign Affairs, and you’ll see that they are positively littered with scholarly articles, from professors to out-of-work ambassadors to United Nations officials, the articles all amount to the same thing: an Israel basically within the pre-1967 borders, and an independent Palestine. The only differences in the articles were the various proposals on how to get from the then-present to the desired future. (Even there, they differed relatively little, save to recognize the changing realities as the Soviet Union disintegrated.)
So, what have we had? Henry Kissinger tried to solve the Arab-israeli problems during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Jimmy Carter deserves some credit for the Egyptian-israeli peace agreement, though most of it accrues to Anwar al-Sadat, who broke the Arab tradition of not talking to Israel. President Reagan and the elder President Bush and President Clinton all tried various forms of diplomacy to try and get this generations-long problem solved, to the point at which Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yassir Arafat 95% of what he had demanded, only to have it thrown back in his face.
Under eight separate presidents since the 1967 war, under more than a dozen Israeli governments ranging from Labor to Likud to Labor to Likud to Labor to Likud and then Kudina, the Arabs have, at every turn, rejected peace. When Shimon Peres, the chief Israeli architect of the Oslo Accords, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, was running for re-election as Prime Minister against Binjamin Netanyahu, a critic who disagreed with the Oslo process, the Palestinians ratcheted up the level of terrorism, leading to a narrow victory for Mr Netanyahu — and the end of serious Israeli participation in the Oslo process. Six years later, when Ehud Barak, desperately fighting for his political life in the upcoming elections, offered Yassir Arafat virtually all he wanted (and what President Clinton, who was hosting the negotiations, said was the best deal the Palestinians could ever get), the Palestinians launched the second intifada and Mr Arafat rejected the proposal out of hand, and stormed out without even making a counter-proposal.
Yet, Mr Kessler (or perhaps his editors, since article titles are frequently the work of editors), has to get a dig in at President Bush!
Well, maybe he was right. President Bush had the obviously naÃ¯ve idea that if the Palestinian people had an opportunity for real democracy, the will of the people, and their weariness with the struggle, would bring forth leaders who supported finding some real path to peace, and who could claim the backing of the people as support against the irredentists.
President Bush pushed for free and fair elections, and that’s basically what happened. And in those free and fair elections, the Palestinian people elected Hamas, a terrorist organization which rejects any peace with the “Zionist invaders,” and whose founding charter (and current ideology) state that the entirety of the Levant, including Israel, is an Islamic waqf, which cannot be either surrendered or negotiated away.
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.
After all of that history, after the election of Hamas, and after the defeat of the forces that at least sort-of pretended to want peace with Israel (not that President Mahmoud Abbas could ever bring himself to it), what conclusion could a rational man draw other than that the Palestinians don’t really want peace, but are still committed to military victory instead?