A State or not a State
Earlier I had noted that both Jackson Diehl and Daniel Pipes predicted that President Bush would start bringing undue pressure on Israel to move forward with negotiations with whatever exists of the PA. The former wrote with barely concealed glee; the latter with a sense of foreboding. In his blog, Pipes sees more evidence and concludes:
There is more on this same topic in the press conference, but this suffices to show how determined the president is to see a Palestinian state emerge on his watch. Also, he is saying (along the lines of his June 2002 speech and the policy in Iraq) that if the Palestinians develop a democratic system, they will for sure live in harmony side-by-side with Israel. To which I say that if the Palestinians still retain their intent to destroy Israel, democracy cannot take place. Instead, the goal of U.S. policy should be to get the Palestinians to give up on this foul goal.
On the other side Barry Rubin in "US Outlook on the Middle East" predicts:
Arab-Israeli conflict: The administration has no illusion of any breakthrough happening soon. Envoys will be sent to run around, meetings held, plans announced, yet this is also done with a profound doubt that anything is going to change. There will be much talk about helping Palestinian moderates win the leadership battle but the United States is going to have little influence and any hint that someone is an American candidate for Palestinian leadership will only hurt his chances. U.S. policy will still back the Roadmap plan but emphasizing that the Palestinians must act fully to stop terrorism before they receive any political rewards. American commitments to Israel will stay in place to support the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and building the security fence. U.S.-Israel relations will remain quite good.While Rubin's article was written before the thug died, an article in Friday's Washington Post seems to support this view:
Privately, administration officials made it clear that Bush will keep the onus on the Palestinians, saying that the United States cannot impose a desire for peace on them if they do not want it themselves.Actually that was only one paragraph in the article. Most of the other statements in the article appear to show an administration hellbent on creating creating a Palestinian state regardless. (I give a little more credence to the paragraph I cited because it was said "privately.")