Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Bringing Peace to the Middle-East

In a meeting with Israeli PM Ariel Sharon today, George Bush heartily endorsed Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, put on hold (according to Sharon) any possibility of a Palestinian state "for many years", ok'ed the permanent annexation of settlements by Israel and rejected outright the Palestinian right of return. All in a good day's work, I guess. Bush said these actions would lead to a "peaceful, democratic, viable Palestinian state." Obviously.

And the Palestinians? Ahmed Qurei remarked of the concessions, it "kills the rights of the Palestinian people" and "we cannot accept this under any circumstances". Yasser Arafat stated that the moves were "clearly the complete end of the peace process" and predicted new violence.

Here's the bonus prize as regards a peaceful resolution of the conflict: Ariel Sharon, who has proven a walking disaster where the peace process is concerned, has been in the political dumps lately, having largely failed to pacify the Palestinians, having presided over one of the worst economic downturns in Israeli history, and having recently been embroiled in a corruption scandal. However, this plan, which most critics believed needed Bush's support in order to go forward, may save his political bacon. Not only does this move completely derail the peace process, but it keeps Sharon in power to make sure it doesn't get back on track again.

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