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The President And A Palestinian State: In Any Event,The Timing Was Wrong

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In principle, we disagree with the notion of U.S. public support for a Palestinian state. The record is clear that, whatever Yasir Arafat and his crowd may claim to the Bush Administration, the Palestinians have no present intention of living as a peaceful neighbor with Israel.

Indeed, the continuing demonizing, anti-Israel incitements and continuing violence can in no way be deemed consistent with a vision of an harmonious future. Plainly, it will take a generation or more to allow the venom to dissipate. And the bellwether of necessary change will be when an agreement will be freely arrived at around the negotiating table.

The establishment of a Palestinian state must be the product of a desire for normalcy and not artificial pressure. So President Bush's and British Prime Minister Blair's joint trial balloon of recent days is most unfortunate. It is all the more so, because it comes at a time when it will inevitably be looked upon by the Palestinians as part of an urgent effort to induce the Palestinian Authority to stanch the violence and to forge a coalition of opportunistic Arab states against international terror.

At his recent press conference last Thursday, President Bush said:

I have met with Prime Minister Sharon, and I have assured him every time we've met that he has no better friend than the United States of America.

I also stated the other day that if we ever get into the Mitchell process, where we can start discussing a political solution in the Middle East, that I believe there ought to be a Palestinian state, the boundaries of which will be negotiated by the parties so long as the Palestinian state recognizes the right of Israel to exist and will treat Israel with respect and will be peaceful on her borders….

So the President set out conditions for his support for a Palestinian state ? he would require a cessation of hostilities and negotiated borders. But why say that now? The inevitable signal is that post-World Trade Center/Pentagon, coalition politics are driving American foreign policy. Or, as Joseph Farah recently wrote,

The message is loud and clear: Keep up the violence, intensify it, keep raising the stakes, make the U.S. pay a price, and your demands will be met ? eventually.

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