I Wonder Why Bush Doesn't Let Sharon Run His Press Office ; MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN

By Fisk, Robert | The Independent (London, England), June 26, 2002 | Go to article overview
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I Wonder Why Bush Doesn't Let Sharon Run His Press Office ; MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN


Fisk, Robert, The Independent (London, England)


PUT YOUR flak jackets on, President George Bush has spoken. He wants a regime change in Palestine, just as he wants a regime change in Iraq. He reads the Israeli government press handouts and accurately quotes them to his American people.

Ariel Sharon, wants the destruction/liquidation/resignation of Yasser Arafat. So does Mr Bush. "Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership so a Palestinian state can be born," Bush told the fearful American people, waiting for the next apocalypse, be it on 4 July or after.

So, no Palestinian state unless Arafat goes. There were no Bush conditions for Israel. An end to the continuing building of Jewish settlements for Jews and Jews only on Arab (that is somebody else's) land. No more Israeli military "incursions" - how I love that word "incursions" - after accepting the occupied West Bank is now merely "disputed". No penalties if the Israelis decline to comply.

Mr Sharon, in his highly mendacious demand for Palestinian "`transparency", has demanded Palestinian reform must be more than cosmetic or an attempt to preserve Arafat. And what does Mr Bush say? Why, that Palestinian reform "must be more than cosmetic changes or a veiled attempt to preserve the status quo".

Why, I wonder, doesn't Mr Bush let Ariel Sharon run the White House press bureau? Not only would it be more honest - we would at least be hearing the voice of Israel at first hand - but it would spare the American President the ignominy of parroting everything he is told by the Israelis.

All that he offers to the Palestinians is a ghastly mockery of what the Palestinians are told to do by the Israelis.

There never has been an "interim" state, let alone a "provisional" state. These are fantasies of the Israelis and Mr. Bush. White House "officials" - we can guess who they are - believe a Palestinian state can be "achieved" within 18 months. Let's forget international law provides for no such entity.

Let's go over again that most crucial - and most dishonest - part of the Bush statement.

"When the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbours," he told us, "the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state, whose border and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East." Let's see what this means: when the Palestinians have elected a leader whom the Israelis want - a condition that could go on to the crack of doom - the Americans will support a Palestinian state whose very existence will mean nothing unless Israel approves what that state wants to do.

In other words, the United States will be Israel's spokesman in any negotiations. A growing number of Americans know they are being suckered by their own government and their own press, that their country's foreign policy is being manipulated to give maximum support to one - and only one - country in the Middle East.

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