Monday, November 01, 2004
Doctors in Paris say Yasser Arafat’s condition has stabilized, but his collapse last week reminds us that he is mortal and will be gone some day.
If that day should be soon, there will be chaos among the Palestinians.
And it's clear that the United States is way out of position to take advantage of new leadership among the Palestinians to help negotiate a peace.
Few would argue that Arafat was interested in peace following his choice of violence over the peace process in 2000. But the Bush administration's decision to first ignore the Israeli-Palestinian situation and then to take Israel's side in one dispute after another has made matters much worse.
Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft - who worked for President George H.W. Bush - went so far as to say that the current President Bush has been "mesmerized" by Israel's prime minister Ariel Sharon.
"'Sharon just has him wrapped around his little finger," Mr Scowcroft said . . . "When there is a suicide attack [followed by a reprisal] Sharon calls the president and says, 'I'm on the front line of terrorism', and the president says, 'Yes, you are. . . ' He [Mr Sharon] has been nothing but trouble."
Israel doesn’t need the U.S. as an uncritical ally; it needs America as an “honest broker” to bring a final settlement to that region, one that includes a viable Palestinian state and security for Israel. The Bush administration has squandered American credibility in this area, and it’s hard to imagine he could ever restore it.
That’s another critical reason for a “fresh start.”
posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 2:31 PM
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