Thursday, May 26, 2005

Maybe somebody will run on a war platform -- you know, vote for me, I promise violence

Meeting with Palestinian President Abbas, Bush makes the Palestinian elections sound like a Medieval mystery play: “Palestinians voted against violence, and for sovereignty, because only the defeat of violence will lead to sovereignty.” Later he speculated, “The President ran on a peace platform; you know, maybe somebody will run on a war platform -- you know, vote for me, I promise violence. I don’t think they’re going to get elected, because I think Palestinian moms want their children to grow up in peace just like American moms want their children to grow up in peace.”

When it came to Israeli actions, he was rather more muddled, making what Palestinians would see as distinctions without differences: “unauthorized outposts” must go, but not settlements, the Wall is ok only if it’s a security barrier, not a political barrier.

Shrub explains that he has a unique understanding of the Middle East: “You know, one of the things when you are in the position I’m in, I’m able to observe attitudes and opinions, and clearly there’s a lot of mistrust, and you can understand why.” Yes George, only you can see that there’s a lot of mistrust between the Israelis and the Palestinians, we bow before your superior insight.

He continues, “The only way to achieve all the objectives is for there to be a democracy living side-by-side with a democracy. And the best way to see -- to solve problems that seem insoluble now is for there to be a society which evolves based upon democratic principles.” If this means anything more than a string of his usual clichés, it’s that he’s placing the whole burden on the Palestinians to change their society before there can be peace, since Israel is already supposedly a democracy. Abbas responded strongly: “But democracy is like a coin; it has two sides. On one side is democracy; on the other side of the coin is freedom. It’s true, now we lack freedom and we are in dire need to have freedom. We do not live in freedom in our homeland. This will weaken the hope to continue this democracy, and will weaken the democratic march.”

Reuters and AFP photographers agree: Bush and Abbas look so much more impressive when shot from below.

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