Saturday, May 17, 2008

It breaks my heart to see the vast potential of the Palestinian people really wasted

In Sharm el Sheikh, Bush met with Palestinian coup leader Mahmoud Abbas, but when they went before the press, he led off by talking about Lebanon. He trotted out a line he’s used at least three times in the last week: “It is clear that Hezbollah, which has been funded by Iran, can no longer justify its position as a defender against Israel when it turns on its own people.” Er, is Bush saying that he was okay with Hezbollah when it was just trying to kill Israelis? Almost equally absurd is the notion that, for Bush, Hezbollah’s legitimacy is reduced by it “turning” on its own people: Bush’s definition of legitimacy for Arab and Muslim regimes is based almost exclusively on their willingness to kill their own people, whether it’s Abbas fighting Hamas, Maliki fighting Sunni insurgents, Musharraf fighting Islamist militants, Saudi Arabia fighting women drivers, etc.

Bush reaffirmed his support for “get[ting] a state defined.” It’s all about the potential: “it breaks my heart to see the vast potential of the Palestinian people really wasted.”

It’s also all about the dreaming: “I commit to you once again that our government will help achieve a dream, a dream that you have -- and the truth of the matter is, a dream that the Israelis have, which is two states living side by side in peace.”

Abbas spoke next, and proved that he had an even more unlikely dream than that: “We are very delighted that the president is following all the details of everything and every discussion that is taking place in the Palestinian negotiations, as well as issues in the region.” Yes, George Bush is following all the detail. All the details of everything and every discussion. And issues in the region. He’s following them all. Really he is.

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