Friday, April 16, 2004

No Longer An Honest Broker

There's plenty of coverage today of Bush's endorsement for Sharon's unilateral plans. While I personally have some serious questions as to whether the US has ever been an honest broker in the Israel/Palestine conflict, the consensus among commentators is that if we were an honest broker, we aren't any more. It's really somewhat amazing that the Bush administration would do this now, deliberately provoking arab and muslim outrage immediately after their overreach in attempting to simultaneously tackle Muqtada Al-Sadr and Fallujah. It has never been more clear that ideology trumps reality with this administration. How much gasoline do they want to pour on this fire?

Meanwhile Washington Post columnist David Ignatius begs the public to see past the attractive simplicity of Bush's policies to the nuanced reality on the ground. Good luck with that, Dave. You're gonna need it.

Speaking of "on the ground", Pakistan's Daily Times makes a good observation on the use of that phrase by George Bush (this was also excerpted by CSM). Bush claimed that he was agreeing to the permanent annexation of Israeli settlements, because of the "realities on the ground". The Times points out that if that is the basis for such decisions, if the Palestinians don't want to have to accept the permanent presence of these settlements, their only choice is to change the reality on the ground, ie, attack and destroy the settlements. Writes the editorial: "If there are indeed ‘realities on the ground’, which Israel has created through use of force, and if they are to be worked into an uneven agreement, then the Palestinians can argue that the only way to an honourable peace is for them to try and change the ground realities. And that can only happen on the ground. Corollary: more violence."

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