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Bush's speech today
June 24, 2002 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Bush's speech today revealed the basis of what the current administration believes is the roadmap to peace in the Mideast. After looking at the major points of the plan, I feel it's about as good of a deal as the Palestinians are ever going to get and pretty much the only way out for the Israeli's also. What do you think?
posted by RevGreg (58 comments total)

 
No comment
posted by Postroad at 4:22 PM on June 24, 2002


Bush makes me proud to be a Norwegian.
posted by MaddCutty at 4:24 PM on June 24, 2002


No comment? Don't comment!
posted by yevge at 4:28 PM on June 24, 2002


I think it's a positive speech in a time when there is virtually no positivity. Bush and his administration seem to want a fair, negotiated solution which everyone besides Israeli and Palestinian extremists can agree is the only solution to the problem. The real question is how to put the major points of the plan in place. If the US actually takes the lead and tries to push the initial steps through, which give the ordinary people on both sides the sense that if they perservere, there will be an end to the violence, it could maybe have a chance.
posted by cell divide at 4:28 PM on June 24, 2002


I've just watched a member of the PA and an Israeli minister slug it out on Newsnight over this using the same old arguments. I hold out little hope.
posted by Summer at 4:34 PM on June 24, 2002


"Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born. I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror."

Agreed, but it probably also requires a new and different Israeli leadership, one that doesn't trace its heritage back to the years of conquest and occupation. And that's simply a pragmatic opinion: Sharon's constituency, as much as Arafat's, is steeped in the rhetoric of revenge.
posted by riviera at 4:35 PM on June 24, 2002


The problem, as I see it, is that bush is asking for a democratically elected palestinian leadership that will fight terror. Unfortunately, with the current mood among the palestinians, democracy and peace are probably mutually exclusive.
posted by kickingtheground at 4:36 PM on June 24, 2002


I agree with Riviera. Sharon and his posse must also go. They've dragged their people into the jaws of the Palestinian terrorism machine.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:43 PM on June 24, 2002


Interesting that the headlines for this story are Bush calls for Arafat's removal. It could have just as accurately been slugged "Bush calls for Israelis to Withdraw From West Bank" Yes? No? Anyway, back to the topic...
posted by cell divide at 4:47 PM on June 24, 2002


Cell divide: You almost called the NYTimes headline on this story.
posted by idiolect at 4:54 PM on June 24, 2002


I've just watched a member of the PA and an Israeli minister slug it out on Newsnight over this using the same old arguments. I hold out little hope.

I'm afraid I too tend to feel this will devolve into the same old tired rhetoric. I'll never cease to hope that this can be solved, it's just hard to ignore the past history of this situation and feel much confidence.

It could have just as accurately been slugged "Bush calls for Israelis to Withdraw From West Bank" Yes? No?

Hmm, interesting point. To be unbiased though it should have read, "Bush calls for bi-lateral concessions to acheive Mideast peace." It seems that even our media, so far removed from this situation, is still locked into the same short-sighted views of the sitaution and partisan bickering. Sigh. That doesn't help bolster my hope at all!
posted by RevGreg at 4:57 PM on June 24, 2002


Bush makes me proud to be a Norwegian.

It's too bad that you can't find anything positive about your own nationality to make you proud to be Norwegian but I'm proud that, once again, American culture can help bolster the flagging identities of other countries. You may detect a bit of sarcasm there and it would be somewhat justified. I do find your stance pathetic though.

Signed,
Proud American
posted by RevGreg at 5:02 PM on June 24, 2002


ideolect: I guess what happens in these cases (seen it before) is that they need to get a story out and grab whatever is most interesting at first. A bunch of different heads will come over the wire services based on first impressions. By the time it's been fully chewed over, the headline will probably be "Bush Outlines Peace Plan for Middle East" with a sub-head of "Palestinian leadership, Israeli tactics must change" or something like that.
posted by cell divide at 5:03 PM on June 24, 2002


I dunno about this. Right now, it seems to me that a democratically elected PA government would include a substantial Hamas bloc, and support terrorist action by the will of the people.

Hamas derives much of its strength from its strong social welfare programme.

In my mind, relieving the terrible material distress in the Palestinian areas would undercut support both for Arafat and Hamas. Once the rudiments of a civil society are in place, maybe you can get a functioning democracy going again.

Of course, this strategy is anathema to Sharon and Likud, who think that increasing deprivation and desperation among Palestinians is the right strategy (although to achieve what end, I'm not sure).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:28 PM on June 24, 2002


Leaving aside the fact that Republicans can't support social welfare programs on general principle, doesn't it seem like a no-brainer to insitute some sort of locally administered social welfare programs so this task doesn't fall to Hamas?

I like the idea of a "THREE YEAR TIME FRAME."

Perhaps it's time for the US and the Saudis to cut a deal, and let things shake out from there. That's more or less how things worked in Central America-- two of the big dogs decided it was time to end the Cold War, and gradually the other critters realized they would have to start working out the necessary adjustments.
posted by sheauga at 6:24 PM on June 24, 2002


"I call on the American people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by fraud..."
posted by dash_slot- at 7:37 PM on June 24, 2002


It seems to me like our President is at his same old tricks again -- he's like an eighth-grader. I mean, any eighth-grader in the country could have (and probably did) make a list quite similar to this one. True, it's good for him to state the obvious, but it underwhelms me with its simplicity.

I am still waiting for Arafat to change tactics 180°, embrace non-violence, march to Jerusalem, and sit in the streets with hordes of Palestinians until either:

a) he gets a state then and there, or,

b) he gets arrested, becomes a hero, hundreds of other palestinians get arrested, the international media watches Israel struggle under this indefensible "attack" and then give in. Statehood results.

It's such a win for Arafat and a complete broadside of everything that Israel is planning for. It would work in 3 weeks or less, I guarantee it. It honestly makes me wonder about Arafat's true motives.
posted by zpousman at 8:08 PM on June 24, 2002


Sharon must go? Actually, he must stay, and then be succeeded by Natanyahu (sp?).

The center of gravity on the Palestinian side, the people calling the shots (and bombs) only understand force. Only when the bombers realize that their entire ideology goes no where (and those around them start controlling the bombers) will Palestinian Arabs get their state. And if that means Israel going to war in Lebanon and Syria, where the terrorist infrastructure gets its support, so be it.

You know, it took two atomic explosions for the Japanese to see that their Emperor was a fake. Let's hope it doesn't take the same in this conflict.

Good Muslims: if you don't start controlling the wacko Muslims; if you don't start speaking up and stop the slander of your faith, you deserve what you get.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:28 PM on June 24, 2002


Paris' posts = sound of one hand clapping.
posted by donkeyschlong at 8:33 PM on June 24, 2002


Zpousman, that is a brilliant strategy. I personally suspect that you wouldn't even have to worry about part B, since the Israelis would probably cave in as soon as Arafat and his merry band sat down on King George street. But even if they didn't, heroism is the one thing Arafat has been lacking all these years. He made some minimal progress in that regard when he survived a plane crash, an assassination attempt by Israeli intelligence agents, a siege in Lebanon, a Nobel peace prize and being jailed in his own compound while the rest of it was demolished, all the while being ringed by Israeli tanks. But the media attention of those probably wouldn't touch the stuff he'd get for being arrested for loitering. And after all, once the universal adulation of the international media developed, Israel would HAVE to cave. I mean, if there's one nation that cares about the support of the rest of the world, its Israel. Totally spineless, that Sharon peacenik would probably secretly be glad that someone had finally given him an excuse to give up the territories and admit defeat.
posted by gsteff at 8:42 PM on June 24, 2002


Actually, from the e-mails I receive, hundreds support my position. Too bad you're blind.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:43 PM on June 24, 2002


Too bad you're blind.

Says the blind man...

I can't help but laugh. What, exactly, does this statement mean:

Good Muslims: if you don't start controlling the wacko Muslims; if you don't start speaking up and stop the slander of your faith, you deserve what you get.

Really...do millions of African children deserve to die each year because they aren't standing up for themselves?
posted by BlueTrain at 8:49 PM on June 24, 2002


BTW, if this article about Arafat is true, this "war" will continue until he is removed. I don't claim to state this as a good or bad idea, but his resolve is fairly secure.
posted by BlueTrain at 8:53 PM on June 24, 2002


I don't think the two are comparable. The Arab world is rich, but corrupt.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:00 PM on June 24, 2002


What does it mean? It means that when a wacky group of Jews (Meir Kahane; the JDL, etc.) surface, they are shouted down and ridiculed by the surrounding community. Similarly, David Koresh, etc. is shouted down by real Christians. Same thing with the current scandals in the Roman Catholic Church On the other hand, in the face of sucide bombers, one hears mostly silence. And approval. That's what it means.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:06 PM on June 24, 2002


The Arab world is rich, but corrupt.

True, but your lack of anything even resembling a proportionate perspective is richly corrupt.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:08 PM on June 24, 2002


Proportionate perspective? Sorry, I don't go for pseudo-moral equivalency bullshit. The "Israeli street" doesn't murder members of its left wing as "collaborators." Israel isn't run like a mafia government. If only the IDF had responded "proportionately "months, years ago to what it faces. How about the assasination of all of those Hamas "Muslim" "clerics." in Gaza in the next few days.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:25 PM on June 24, 2002


See, your failure is in trying to moralize it at all. I only see it in terms of action-reaction. The harder Sharon comes down, the harder Hamas and Co. retaliate. It's this little thing called escalation.

And equivalency? As if. Israel, as a self-styled western democracy (albeit with an ultimately inimical religious component) with resources and infrastructure, has a different set of responsibilities in all this than a bunch of derelict refugees. That's certainly not an excuse for anything, and the other Arab countries have arguably been even shittier to the Palestinians than Israel has, but since the ultimate and lasting resolution will be for Israel and Palestine to just fucking get along and build from there, all this blame bullshit is way beside the point. Fact: it's happening. Fact: it must stop. Fact: both sides have valid concerns and must survive.

Now grow up.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:38 PM on June 24, 2002


The "Israeli street" doesn't murder members of its left wing as "collaborators."

Prime Minister Rabin?
posted by laz-e-boy at 10:17 PM on June 24, 2002


Now that PP has entered the thread, it's as dead in the water as this 'peace plan'. In any case, Ra'anan Gissin was just interviewed by the BBC and flatly refused to acknowledge that Bush's speech included a call for the end of occupation: he was asked, 'So, the Israelis don't have to do anything right now?', with which he heartily agreed. This from a representative of the 'peace with security' regime. Which is why, as Bush's speech sinks in, it appears more and more facile: it offers a desireable vision with an unachievable path.
posted by riviera at 12:30 AM on June 25, 2002


"The (Palestinians) calling the shots only understand force."

Funny that. This suicide bomber feels the same way about you. It gives me hope to think that you two are so alike...

"You know, it took two atomic explosions for the Japanese to see that their Emperor was a fake. Let's hope it doesn't take the same in this conflict."

The Emperor wasn't seen as a fake. When the chips were down, he went against the councel of the hawks and negotiated a peace. In many ways, he is in a similar situation as Arafat. There is no doubt that Arafat finds himself stuck in a difficult situation almost akin to Michael Collins, who, by supporting a negotiated peace in Ireland, signed his own death warrant. Still, if I remember right, Arafat offered to accept a peace treaty just the other day. Blind with hatred, Israel refuses to give the Palestinians an honorable peace.

As for Israel, the hawks are in power and the leading politician who opposed them was gunned down... and apparently their supporters think they're oh-so-clever suggesting that genocide could possibly be the regretable answer. Barbarians and hypocrites.

Genocide can never be justified. Those who would suggest such a thing are not looking for peace. They are looking for the Final Solution to the Arab Problem.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:51 AM on June 25, 2002


Just as a clarification to my post, the Emperor of Japan accepted peace. Nothing to negotiate in that particular case. There is plenty to negotiate in this case, however.

And has it occurred to anyone that perhaps Arafat would like to end this conflict for very good reasons, very soon... and end it with dignity for his people? And that maybe he needs an honorable peace, not only to secure the freedoms of his people, but to save his life?

After all, Sadat was killed because he negotiated a peace with Israel. If the Israelis really want to get rid of Arafat, perhaps peace is the answer...
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:04 AM on June 25, 2002


ParisParasmus: You have nothing to add to this thread. Please shut up and let the rest of us discuss it in the manner it deserves.

When you look at the list of final objectives, it all looks fine and dandy. Practically all independent negotiators would end up with something broadly similar. Two things stand out.

1) Is there actually any will for peace? It seems as if both sides are getting more beligerent rather than concilliatory. Peace will only come about if both sides want it, and are prepared to take great risks to get it.

2) How, in practice, could such a plan be carried out? For instance, the Palestinians would have to move quite a lot on the promise of fair negotiations about a Palestinian state. I can't see them taking that step unless the question of where the borders would be is determined first.
posted by salmacis at 3:20 AM on June 25, 2002


The comparison with Michael Collins is interesting, inasmuch as the modern IRA, in its corruption, propensity for for kneecapping and petty crime, and sanctuary for psychopaths, is a nice match for Fatah. To compare Arafat with Collins and the heroes of Irish revolution is to dishonour their memories. I don't think that there are any worthwhile parallels to be drawn with the Irish struggle; this is sui generis. And of course - where is the logic in demanding free and full elections, and yet prescribing who mayu and may not be elected?

You can't get there from here.

Arafat is a bad man. He is also there, and Bush can't make him go away by wishing, and certainly won't persuade any Palestinian not to vote for him in a fair election by this speech.

What might make Palestinians choose a less violent path to statehood and autonomy is a genuine path to self-improvement, not grounded in democracy, but in full stomachs, prospects for their children, and an alternative that looks better than their present course. Once these things are there, perhaps Palestinian people might choose leaders who can guarantee more of the same. Until then, why would you choose anyone who won't fight violently to improve your condition from worse than nothing?

Arafat can not offer such a future, because it would undermine his control. Hamas would not co-operate now, because their vision excludes any possibility of an Israeli state. Sharon can not offer such a future, because it would undermine the vision of a greater Israel that includes the settlers' acquisitions.

And so Bush's speech is a worthless confection.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:15 AM on June 25, 2002


Actually, the Hawks are not in charge in Israel. And your failure to see that shows that your understanding of the conflict is not very lucid.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:49 AM on June 25, 2002


where is the logic in demanding free and full elections, and yet prescribing who mayu and may not be elected?

Zactly. I think the West is naive in believing only good and peace can come of democracy.
posted by Summer at 4:54 AM on June 25, 2002


This really isn't as difficult to comprehend as you are making it out to be.

Bush said we wouldn't deal with leaders "tainted by terrorism". The Palestinians are welcome to re-elect the current terrorists or elect entirely new ones. However, as long as they are terrorists we won't deal with them. By electing (or re-electing) leaders "tainted by terror" the Palestinians are basically saying they don't want the US to help them.
posted by revbrian at 5:44 AM on June 25, 2002


By electing (or re-electing) leaders "tainted by terror" the Palestinians are basically saying they don't want the US to help them.

I'm sure the asymmetry of such an approach is not lost on us. Obviously only one side is allowed to elect leaders with blood on their hands.
posted by riviera at 6:42 AM on June 25, 2002


Israel isn't run like a mafia government.

Well, not yet, anyway:

"police say Lerner and other top Mafia figures tried to buy influence during last year's national elections by offering bribes to parties for meetings with top candidates. Several top officials across the Israeli political spectrum have been questioned in connection with Lerner's prosecution.

"Reformists say that it is relatively easy to buy influence in Israel because there are few restrictions on contributions to individual candidates, and limits on donations to parties apply only nine months before election day."
posted by mediareport at 6:45 AM on June 25, 2002


ParisParasmus: You have nothing to add to this thread. Please shut up and let the rest of us discuss it in the manner it deserves.

I see, so this is a system where the majority rules and any minority opinion has nothing to offer? It seems someone is suffering from an over-enhanced sense of self worth.

I think he brings up some valid points. If one side can show it is completely committed to peace, wouldn't the other side eventually follow suit?
posted by schlaager at 7:40 AM on June 25, 2002


schlaager, in this case ParisParamus voices his minority opinion with such volume and frequency that it is often difficult to carry on a discussion that isn't centered around his provocateurism. Someone here is suffering from hypertrophic egophilia, but it isn't salmacia.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:51 AM on June 25, 2002


ParisParasmus: You have nothing to add to this thread. Please shut up and let the rest of us discuss it in the manner it deserves.

This kind of response only feeds PP's persecution complex. His own statements do a lot more to discredit his position, so let him eat his own head.

but I couldn't let this go:
Actually, from the e-mails I receive, hundreds support my position.

Oh yeah? Well, I've received thousands and thousands of e-mails begging me to become the next president of Israel.

By electing (or re-electing) leaders "tainted by terror" the Palestinians are basically saying they don't want the US to help them.

That's kind of ridiculous. Many, if not a majority, of Israel's elected leaders since its creation have been "tainted by terror". Ben Gurion? Menachem Begin, anyone? This also brings up one of the lessons of the creation of the state of Israel: terrorism works. I certainly don't dispute, at this point, Israel's right to exist in security (and I respect the fact that it is a functioning democracy surrounded by thug-ocracies) but it's difficult to demand that the Palestinians forego the use of terror as a means to independance when that is exactly how Israel went about it.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:13 AM on June 25, 2002


When is a state not a state? When it's Palestinian
posted by cell divide at 9:18 AM on June 25, 2002


Certainly the Palestinian long term plan doesn't seem to involve peace in the near future.
posted by semmi at 9:34 AM on June 25, 2002


where is the logic in demanding free and full elections, and yet prescribing who mayu and may not be elected?

I think the rationale is that >50% of common palestinians are smart enough to see that Arafat and his cronies are corrupt and probably the most immediate barrier to statehood and international recognition. Given a choice and some time to think about it, I suspect the average Palestinian can draw the connection between terrorism and their failure to achieve stability. Allowing the general population to make some decisions might surprise the PP's of the world and make them realize that the Palestinians, as a people, probably want some food, shelter, schooling and peace more than they want Arafat, Hamas and what they represent.
posted by plaino at 10:03 AM on June 25, 2002


It's pretty obvious by now that the only hope for the Arabs of the territories and Gaza is the United States. Israel could actually be the source of that help, but, obviously, way too much brainwashing has taken place for that. And the larger Muslim world has been betraying the Palestinians for 50 years or more. So hopefully, President Bush's speech yesterday will be a kind of wakeup call. The carrot: if you get serious and arrest the terror, we'll help you. If you don't, it's eternal misery, with Israel as your policeman forever.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:52 AM on June 25, 2002


Paris,
I agree that the U.S. is the only nation that seems to realistically be able to midwife the Palestinian state, but this was apparent before Bush's speech yesterday, which took its time in saying very little.

To say that Israel "could actually be the source of that help" but for the "brainwashing"...well, that 's baloney. First: brainwashing of whom? If you're saying the Palestinians have been brainwashed into hating the Israelis, then I question your definition of brainwashing. Palestinians in the occupied territories have been subjected to daily humiliation at the hands of Israeli forces for 30 years, so it's not hard to understand why they might be receptive to some of the more vile propaganda.

The carrot: if you get serious and arrest the terror, we'll help you

This is what's been said to Arafat all along. It's been pointed out many times that this only puts more power in the hands of the fanatics, as the act of a single suicide bomber can scuttle any moves toward negotiation.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:15 AM on June 25, 2002


brainwashing
posted by Mick at 11:31 AM on June 25, 2002


Mick- understood, that stuff is awful. My point, made here, is that such attitudes did not develop in a vacuum.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:54 AM on June 25, 2002


Did anyone ever stop to think that democracy may not be the best way for this to be resolved? There are other forms of government that appear to function, aren't there? Hearing Bush speak yesterday (I almost got a rash from all the republicans on tv, I had to hear Cheney go on and on too), the thing that astounded me more than any other was the way he made it sound: Once we jam democracy on our terms down their throats, this whole thing will totally go away! I can't believe that any nation is so arrogant as to believe that forcing their politics on another nation will fix whatever is going on. I think it's amazingly arrogant and it made me wonder just how this is all going to go down (if at all). It isn't exactly like King George is the right person to be extolling the virtues of democracy, you know? And when did we decide that all of this is because of someone named Tara? He keeps talking about stopping Tara and ending the reign of Tara....

In addition, did anyone else notice that Bush has been in office for two years, and his plan will take three? Is that a plank being nailed into the Actually Elect Me This Time platform I hear?
posted by verso at 12:04 PM on June 25, 2002


Ah, cell devide, you beat me to the great Slate analysis.

Here's a good quote: It isn't even a bone thrown to the Palestinians. It's a picture of a bone. Bush's father was notorious for confusing the photo op of a thing ("Message: I care") with the thing itself. The son, too, seems to think that his words are equal to deeds.

So true. I can't believe how much of a jerk Bush came off as. It's easy for the U.S. and Israel (by proxy) to take this "tough stance"- you reform your government before we even think about giving you a state- because (a) we have nothing to lose in the deal and (b) the odds are low of this actually happening, letting Israel continue sending in tanks, saying "hey, we tried". Sharon did the same thing months ago when he said he wouldn't negotiate until the bombing stopped.

On a separate note, I like Bush's version of democracy- you can elect any leader you want, as long as it's someone of whom we approve. Classy.
posted by mkultra at 12:15 PM on June 25, 2002


brainwashing

Which? The story or the actual site? Both seem to cancel each other out pretty well when it comes to poisonous self-indoctrination.
posted by riviera at 1:18 PM on June 25, 2002


Insisting that a legitimate leader be one who doesn't promote, sponsor or tolerate terrorism does not negate democracy. Obviously, it would be better if a US President didn't have to issue such an edict. But by 2002, it became necessary.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:21 PM on June 25, 2002


"To compare Arafat with Collins and the heroes of Irish revolution is to dishonor their memories."...."Arafat is a bad man."

"Insisting that a legitimate leader be one who doesn't promote, sponsor or tolerate terrorism does not negate democracy."


But where is the evidence that Arafat is promoting, sponsoring, or tolerating terrorism any more so that the heroes of the Irish revolution did? After all, didn't Michael Collins give arms to both pro- and anti-Treaty IRA members to defend the Catholics?

One man's terrorist is another man's patriot.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:33 PM on June 25, 2002


One man's terrorist is another man's patriot.

It's quite possible that the only way for the Palestinians to save face for their support of such a horrid man, and bankrupt policies is for YA to die of natural causes.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:54 PM on June 25, 2002


One man's terrorist is another man's patriot.

It's quite possible that the only way for the Palestinians to save face for their support of such a horrid man, and bankrupt policies is for YA to die of natural causes.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:54 PM on June 25, 2002


But where is the evidence that Arafat is promoting, sponsoring, or tolerating terrorism any more so that the heroes of the Irish revolution did?

I don't accept the argument that because we once approved of people who did something bad, we are prevented from opposing anyone who does that particular bad thing in the future. We supported Stalin during World War II; does this mean that we can no longer censure anyone who deliberately murders ten million of his own civilians?

Yasser Arafat has shown great skill as a revolutionary, but little to no skill as a legitimate political leader. He got his people thrown of Jordan with massive loss of life after he started a civil war there. He got his people thrown out of Syria and Lebanon, again with massive loss of life, after starting a civil war there. He almost directly brought Ariel Sharon to power, leading to more misery for his people. Even Edward Said of all people agrees that Arafat is far more interested in saving himself then actually making things better for Palestinians.

The Israelis have shown (with the election of Barak) that if they see a possibility for peace, they will elect someone with that goal in mind. The Palestinians deserve the same opportunity.
posted by jaek at 5:47 PM on June 25, 2002


A brief history of Arafat and his leadership of the Palestinians.
posted by semmi at 7:42 PM on June 25, 2002


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