Thursday, January 10, 2008


Bush Gives Israel Scope for Antiterror Acts - John D. McKinnon and Cam Simpson
President Bush signaled he would give Israel broad leeway to continue raids targeting Palestinian militants and to develop settlements in disputed parts of Jerusalem, despite international pressure to curb such actions. Bush and his aides suggested they were more focused on getting Olmert and Abbas to make progress in the negotiations over a Palestinian state and less worried about making sure each side immediately met all its existing international peace obligations.

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said that given Abbas' lack of control over the violence, the implementation of the roadmap obligations "may take longer" than the process of reaching an agreement in principle over the outlines of a Palestinian state. Hadley also said the issues surrounding some of the disputed settlements would become far easier to resolve once the borders of a Palestinian state had been decided. (Wall Street Journal)

Bush in Israel: Palestinian State Cannot Be Launching Pad for Terrorists
President Bush said in Jerusalem on Wednesday: "We're in conflict with radicals and extremists who are willing to murder innocent people to achieve a dark vision. And this is an historic opportunity for the world to fight those terrorists." "I believe that two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace, is in the best interests of America and the world. I believe it's in the long-term security interests of Israel....[But] there has to be a firm commitment by a Palestinian government to deal with extremists and terrorists who might be willing to use Palestinian territory as a launching pad into Israel....You can't expect the Israelis, and I certainly don't, to accept a state on their border which would become a launching pad for terrorist activities." (White House)

Bush predicts Mideast peace treaty (AP)
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....

Bush gave his most detailed summation yet of what a final peace should include, including U.S. expectations for the resolution of some of the hardest issues in the violent conflict, one of the world's longest-running and most intractable. He used tough language intended to put both sides on notice that he sees no reason they cannot get down to serious business, "starting right now."

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 60 years ago.

He made a point of using a loaded term — occupation — to describe Israeli control over land that would eventually form the bulk of an independent Palestinian state. That he did so in Jerusalem underscored that he is trying not to seem partial to Israel.

On borders, Bush said "any agreement will require adjustments" to the lines drawn for Israel in the late 1940s. He was referring to Israeli neighborhoods on disputed lands that Israel would keep when an independent Palestinian state is formed.

At the same time, Bush reiterated that Palestinians deserve better than a "Swiss cheese" state, and that a state wouldn't be viable otherwise.

"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.

No comments: