Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 20, 2003
WAR: One Year Later
Tuesday will mark the one-year anniversary of President Bush's landmark June 24, 2002 speech on the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Here's what I wrote at the time, with more recent comments in brackets:
Bush: Mr. Arafat, tear down yourself!
"If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence."
Beautiful touch: a nice reminder that the Israelis aren't the only ones the Palestinians threaten or the only ones they need to make peace with. [Now, there's signs that Egypt is getting involved again in the "road map," but little has been resolved with the Palestinians' Arab neighbors]
"A Palestinian state can only serve its citizens with a new constitution which separates the powers of government . . .Local officials and government ministers need authority of their own and the independence to govern effectively."
Lord, if that's the standard, England doesn't meet it - no constitution, no separation of executive and legislative powers, little local authority. [We're not there yet -- the new institutions haven't even wrested power from Arafat, let alone created multiple sources of authority]
"The security system must have clear lines of authority and accountability and a unified chain of command."
Wow, Tom Ridge can't meet that one. [Well, Ridge has more authority now. But Mahmoud Abbas a/k/a Abu Mazen doesn't] Seriously, though.
"Every leader actually committed to peace will end incitement to violence in official media, and publicly denounce homicide bombings."
That means you, Saudi Arabia & Egypt. [I haven't checked MEMRI enough lately - while the English-language Arab News has made noises of reasonableness lately and there seems to be less vocal support for 'martyrdom' out there, I'm not sure how close we are to ending the international glorification of suicide bombers]
"Every nation actually committed to peace will stop the flow of money, equipment and recruits to terrorist groups seeking the destruction of Israel -- including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah."
This is directed at the EU. [Not much progress on the EU front, but we have stopped the flow from Iraq, and if the Iranian regime falls, Hezbollah will be SOL pretty quickly]
"Every nation actually committed to peace must block the shipment of Iranian supplies to these groups, and oppose regimes that promote terror, like Iraq. And Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations."
Hey, Syria: you are on the waiting list for the axis of evil. [Well, there's an opening, and Assad is still being auditioned. But we did close terror training grounds in Iraq.]
"With intensive effort by all, this agreement could be reached within three years from now."
Are you listening? I didn't promise it would be done by November 2004. [The 'road map' tried to stop the violence by last month, so so much for timetables. Bush won't be blamed for failure to get peace on the West Bank, though; voters understand that this is an intractable problem, so there's only upside in getting involved]
"The Bible says, "I have set before you life and death; therefore, choose life." The time has arrived for everyone in this conflict to choose peace, and hope, and life."
This is reminiscent of the U.S. diplomat in the Sixties who told the Arabs & Israelis to settle their differences "like good Christians."