Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bush in Israel: I’m an optimistic people

Bush, in Israel, explains, oh, something about rolls and visions: “The role of the Israeli leadership and the Palestinian leadership is going to do the hard work necessary to define a vision.”

I’m told the Israeli press was full of pictures of a bathrobe Olmert is giving George, with his name in gold stitching. Whatevs.

Oh, and a sports jersey.

Later, Bush had a press conference with Prime Minister Olmert. As politicians tend to do when they visit the Middle East, he used the word “historic” a lot: “I view this as an historic moment. It’s a historic opportunity, Mr. Prime Minister, first of all, to work together to deal with the security of Israel and the Palestinian people -- matter of fact, the security of people who just simply want to live in peace.” Well, which ones, George, the people who just simply want to live in peace, or the Israelis and Palestinians?

“If I were a rich man, Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.”

A LITTLE PRESSURE: “If it looks like there needs to be a little pressure, Mr. Prime Minister, you know me well enough to know I’ll be more than willing to provide it. I will say the same thing to President Abbas tomorrow, as well.” Adding, “But when I say that to Laura, she always tells me she has a headache.”

More and more lately, Bush has been reporting on conversations with his imaginary friends: “you know, people in America say, well, do you really think these guys are serious? We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric in the past, a lot of grand proclamations.” “I’m an optimistic people -- people say, do you think it’s possible during your presidency, and the answer is, I’m very hopeful and will work hard to that end.”

REMINDER-IN-CHIEF: “And I want to remind people, Mr. Prime Minister, what I said at the press conference when I discussed that National Intelligence Estimate.” “Let me remind you what the NIE actually said.” “I will be talking about the opportunity for Middle Eastern peace, and remind people in the neighborhood that if they truly want to see two states living side by side in peace, they have an obligation, Arab leaders have an obligation to recognize Israel’s important contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East”. Oh, I think they all already recognize Israel’s important contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East.

“A little close there, grandpa.”

Bush, as we know, is not good at verb tenses. But he’s working at it: “I said then that Iran was a threat, Iran is a threat, and Iran will be a threat if the international community does not come together and prevent that nation from the development of the know-how to build a nuclear weapon.”

Prepositions, still a problem: “they’ve got missiles in which they can use to deliver the bomb.”

FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS: “The fundamental questions that I was seeking at Annapolis and on my return trip is the understanding about the power of what a vision will do for peace.”

TOO BIG ON THE GROUND: “and by the way, the atmosphere in America was, nothing is going to happen, see, that these issues are too big on the ground”

CONDESCENDER-IN-CHIEF: “You just heard the man talk about their desire to deal with core issues, which I guess for the uneducated on the issue, that means dealing with the issues like territory and right of return and Jerusalem.”

THE VISION TRACK: “There’s three tracks going on, by the way, during this process. One is the vision track.”

What is that vision track? “The goal is for there to be a clear vision of what a state would look like, so that, for example, reasonable Palestinian leadership can say, here’s your choice: You can have the vision of Hamas, which is dangerous and will lead to war and violence, or you can have the vision of a state, which should be hopeful.”

A STRAIGHT LINE IF I’VE EVER HEARD ONE: “As to the rockets, my first question is going to be to President Abbas, what do you intend to do about them?”

HE CANNOT BE A SAFE HAVEN: “[B]ut at least he’s [Abbas] told me that he fully recognizes in order for there to be a state, he cannot be a safe haven for terrorists that want to destroy Israel.”

There were, of course, protests, like this one in front of the American consulate in Jerusalem.

And in Gaza City, where Bush was severely insulted in culturally specific ways he won’t understand:

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