How Disappointing Is This Administration
As if to demoralize conservative hawks heading into an election year, the Bush administration is falling back to the U.S. political-class default with respect to Palestinian terror:
The “road map” for peace, conceived in 2002 by Mr. Bush, had become a hindrance to the peace process, because the first requirement was that the Palestinians stop terrorist attacks.
As a result, every time there was a terrorist bombing, the peace process fell apart and went back to square one. Neither side ever began discussing the “core issues”: the freezing of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the rights of Palestinian refugees to return, the outline of Israel’s border and the future of Jerusalem.
“The reason that we haven’t really been able to move forward on the peace process for a number of years is that we were stuck in the sequentiality of the road map. So you had to do the first phase of the road map before you moved on to the third phase of the road map, which was the actual negotiations of final status,” Miss Rice said.
Was a time when this administration understood that a willingness to resort to terrorism was the “core issue” — not just in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but throughout the world. Rice goes on to explain that it was necessary to “break that tight sequentiality … to say, you can do these in parallel, you can do road-map obligations and negotiation for the final status in parallel,” but we’ve been through this before: The result is that Israel and the United States display their carrots and domestic and international pro-Palestinian (anti-Israeli and anti-American) forces pressure them to start handing the carrots on the promise that it will inspire the Palestinians to lower their stick just a little more.
I’m with Jeff Jacoby:
Whatever happened to the moral clarity that informed the president’s worldview in the wake of 9/11? Whatever happened to the conviction that was at the core of the Bush Doctrine: that terrorists must be anathematized and defeated, and the fever-swamps that breed them drained and detoxified? …
Now that policy has gone by the boards, replaced by one less focused on achieving peace than on maintaining a “peace process.” No doubt it is difficult, as Rice says, to “move forward on the peace process” when the Palestinian Authority glorifies suicide bombers and encourages a murderous goal of eliminating the Jewish state. If the Bush Doctrine – “with us or with the terrorists” – were still in force, the peace process would be shelved. The administration would be treating the Palestinians as pariahs, allowing them no assistance of any kind, much less movement toward statehood, so long as their encouragement of terrorism persisted.