Sunday, March 30, 2008

Not coming to insert American ideas into this process

Totally sincere political statement of the week: Barack Obama: “My attitude is that Senator Clinton can run as long as she wants.”

CONDI GOT NO IDEAS: Condi, in Israel: “I’m not coming to insert American ideas into this process.”

She has been trumpeting, because it’s the only thing she has to show for her latest visit to the Middle East, an agreement by Israel to ease movement in the West Bank by eliminating 50 roadblocks. Not the checkpoints, which will be “upgraded,” just roadblocks. Reporters in her press pool, sensing that the term had been simply made up in order to make Israel look good by agreeing to remove 50 of them without relieving the burden on Palestinian travelers in the tiniest bit, repeatedly tried to get her to define just exactly what constitutes a roadblock, and she rather clearly had no idea. Er, did I say clearly?:
Let me just explain, though, that the whole point here is not to try and isolate and say we remove that or remove that. The whole point here is to have an integrated approach that looks at the security, looks at the movement and access issues, and looks at the potential for economic prospects, and then comes up with concrete steps that can move all three together in an integrated fashion. ...

General Fraser will be following up on the specifics and will be also -- the term that he uses is not verifying, but making certain that, in fact, there are 50 and that they are being removed and that they, in fact, have some impact on the access issue. ...

But the question is not just a category -- roadblocks or checkpoints -- but what does it do to allow people to move freely. ...

But again, we’re trying to take an approach that is consistent with security, movement and economic development so that it’s not just -- so that it’s not just remove something that may not have any effect or that may adversely affect security but is not really critical to economic activity. It really is an effort now to put these three elements together and to make decisions on that basis.

(Update: the Guardian says there are now 580 roadblocks.)

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