Bush repeats his vision speech of June 2002

By Ted Belman

Bush is calling for the creation of a state, not a provisional state, with ’67 borders subject to taking into account realities on the ground and subject to mutually agreed exchanges of land. Palestine must be “viable and contiguous”.

How he expects to achieve two states living in peace when he can’t achieve peace in Iraq or Lebanon or Gaza is beyond me.

President Bush Discusses the Middle East

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. In recent weeks, debate in our country has rightly focused on the situation in Iraq — yet Iraq is not the only pivotal matter in the Middle East. More than five years ago, I became the first American President to call for the creation of a Palestinian state. In the Rose Garden, I said that Palestinians should not have to live in poverty and occupation. I said that the Israelis should not have to live in terror and violence. And I laid out a new vision for the future — two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.

Since then, many changes have come — some hopeful, some dispiriting. Israel has taken difficult actions, including withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. Palestinians have held free elections, and chosen a president committed to peace. Arab states have put forward a plan that recognizes Israel’s place in the Middle East. And all these parties, along with most of the international community, now share the goal of a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state — a level of consensus never before seen on this crucial issue.

The past five years have also brought developments far too familiar in the recent history of the region. Confronted with the prospect of peace, extremists have responded with acts of aggression and terror. In Gaza, Hamas radicals betrayed the Palestinian people with a lawless and violent takeover. By its actions, Hamas has demonstrated beyond all doubt that it is [more] devoted to extremism and murder than to serving the Palestinian people.

This is a moment of clarity for all Palestinians. And now comes a moment of choice. The alternatives before the Palestinian people are stark. There is the vision of Hamas, which the world saw in Gaza — with murderers in black masks, and summary executions, and men thrown to their death from rooftops. By following this path, the Palestinian people would guarantee chaos, and suffering, and the endless perpetuation of grievance. They would surrender their future to Hamas’s foreign sponsors in Syria and Iran. And they would crush the possibility of any — of a Palestinian state.

There’s another option, and that’s a hopeful option. It is the vision of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad; it’s the vision of their government; it’s the vision of a peaceful state called Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people. To realize this vision, these leaders are striving to build the institutions of a modern democracy. They’re working to strengthen the Palestinian security services, so they can confront the terrorists and protect the innocent. They’re acting to set up competent ministries that deliver services without corruption. They’re taking steps to improve the economy and unleash the natural enterprise of the Palestinian people. And they’re ensuring that Palestinian society operates under the rule of law. By following this path, Palestinians can reclaim their dignity and their future — and establish a state of their own. [Sounds like a tall order.]

Only the Palestinians can decide which of these courses to pursue. Yet all responsible nations have a duty to help clarify the way forward. By supporting the reforms of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, we can help them show the world what a Palestinian state would look like — and act like. We can help them prove to the world, the region, and Israel that a Palestinian state would be a partner — not a danger. We can help them make clear to all Palestinians that rejecting violence is the surest path to security and a better life. And we can help them demonstrate to the extremists once and for all that terror will have no place in a Palestinian state.

So in consultation with our partners in the Quartet — the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations — the United States is taking a series of steps to strengthen the forces of moderation and peace among the Palestinian people. [Some partners. Russia is arming Israel’s enemies, the UN is attacking Israel with resolutions and the EU is talking to Hamas.]

First, we are strengthening our financial commitment. Immediately after President Abbas expelled Hamas from the Palestinian government, the United States lifted financial restrictions on the Palestinian Authority that we had imposed. This year, we will provide the Palestinians with more than $190 million in American assistance — including funds for humanitarian relief in Gaza. To build on this support, I recently authorized the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to join in a program that will help generate $228 million in lending to Palestinian businesses. Today, I announce our intention to make a direct contribution of $80 million to help Palestinians reform their security services — a vital effort they’re undertaking with the guidance of American General Keith Dayton. We will work with Congress and partners around the world to provide additional resources once a plan to build Palestinian institutions is in place. With all of this assistance, we are showing the Palestinian people that a commitment to peace leads to the generous support of the United States. [Just throw money at the problem.]

Second, we’re strengthening our political and diplomatic commitment. Again today, President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert sat down together to discuss priorities and resolve issues. Secretary Rice and I have strongly supported these meetings, and she has worked with both parties to sketch out a “political horizon” for a Palestinian state. Now we will intensify these efforts, with the goal of increasing the confidence of all parties in a two-state solution. And we will continue to deliver a firm message to Hamas:

    You must stop Gaza from being a safe haven for attacks against Israel.
    You must accept the legitimate Palestinian government, permit humanitarian aid in Gaza, and dismantle militias.
    And you must reject violence, and recognize Israel’s right to exist, and commit to all previous agreements between the parties.

As I said in the Rose Garden five years ago, a Palestinian state will never be created by terror.

Third, we’re strengthening our commitment to helping build the institutions of a Palestinian state. Last month, former Prime Minister — British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed to take on a new role as Quartet representative. In this post, he will coordinate international efforts to help the Palestinians establish the institutions of a strong and lasting free society — including effective governing structures, a sound financial system, and the rule of law. He will encourage young Palestinians to participate in the political process. And America will strongly support his work to help Palestinian leaders answer their people’s desire to live in peace. [Look how long they have been at it in Iraq]

All the steps I’ve outlined are designed to lay the foundation for a successful Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza — a nation with functioning political institutions and capable security forces, and leaders who reject terror and violence. With the proper foundation, we can soon begin serious negotiations toward the creation of a Palestinian state.

These negotiations must resolve difficult questions and uphold clear principles.

    They must ensure that Israel is secure.
    They must guarantee that a Palestinian state is viable and contiguous.
    And they must lead to a territorial settlement, with mutually agreed borders reflecting previous lines and current realities, and mutually agreed adjustments.

[This list does not include secure borders for Israel. For security Israel must rely on America’s pladge to secure Isarael as a Jewish state.]

America is prepared to lead discussions to address these issues, but they must be resolved by Palestinians and Israelis, themselves. Resolving these issues would help show Palestinians a clear way forward. And ultimately, it could lead to a final peace in the Middle East — a permanent end to the conflict, and an agreement on all the issues, including refugees and Jerusalem.

To make this prospect a reality, the Palestinian people must decide that they want a future of decency and hope — not a future of terror and death. They must match their words denouncing terror with action to combat terror. The Palestinian government must arrest terrorists, dismantle their infrastructure, and confiscate illegal weapons — as the road map requires. They must work to stop attacks on Israel, and to free the Israeli soldier held hostage by extremists. And they must enforce the law without corruption, so they can earn the trust of their people, and of the world. Taking these steps will enable the Palestinians to have a state of their own. And there’s only way to end the conflict, and nothing less is acceptable.

[It seems to me like a non starter. This won’t happen.]

Israel has a clear path. Prime Minister Olmert must continue to release Palestinian tax revenues to the government of Prime Minster Fayyad. Prime Minister Olmert has also made clear that Israel’s future lies in developing areas like the Negev and Galilee — not in continuing occupation of the West Bank. This is a reality that Prime Minister Sharon recognized, as well. So unauthorized outposts should be removed and settlement expansion ended.

At the same time, Israelis should find other practical ways to reduce their footprint without reducing their security — so they can help President Abbas improve economic and humanitarian conditions.

They should be confident that the United States will never abandon its commitment to the security of Israel as a Jewish state and homeland for the Jewish people.

The international community must rise to the moment, and provide decisive support to responsible Palestinian leaders working for peace. One forum to deliver that support is the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee — a group chaired by Norway that includes the United States and Japan, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan. Today I call for a session of this committee to gather soon, so that the world can back its words in real support for the new Palestinian government.

The world can do more to build the conditions for peace. So I will call together an international meeting this fall of representatives from nations that support a two-state solution, reject violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and commit to all previous agreements between the parties. The key participants in this meeting will be the Israelis, the Palestinians, and their neighbors in the region. [Like Syria and Lebanon, some neighbours.]

Secretary Rice will chair the meeting. She and her counterparts will review the progress that has been made toward building Palestinian institutions. They will look for innovative and effective ways to support further reform. And they will provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations, so that we can move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian state.

Arab states have a pivotal role to play, as well. They should show strong support for President Abbas’s government and reject the violent extremism of Hamas. They should use their resources to provide much-needed assistance to the Palestinian people. Nations like Jordan and Egypt, which are natural gateways for Palestinian exports, should open up trade to create opportunities on both sides of the border.

Arab nations should also take an active part in promoting peace negotiations. Re-launching the Arab League initiative was a welcome first step. Now Arab nations should build on this initiative — by ending the fiction that Israel does not exist, stopping the incitement of hatred in their official media, and sending cabinet-level visitors to Israel. With all these steps, today’s Arab leaders can show themselves to be the equals of peacemakers like Anwar Sadat and King Hussein of Jordan.

The conflict in Gaza and the West Bank today is a struggle between extremists and moderates. And these are not the only places where the forces of radicalism and violence threaten freedom and peace. The struggle between extremists and moderates is also playing out in Lebanon — where Hezbollah and Syria and Iran are trying to destabilize the popularly elected government. The struggle is playing out in Afghanistan — where the Taliban and al Qaeda are trying to roll back democratic gains. And the struggle is playing out in Iraq — where al Qaeda, insurgents, and militia are trying to defy the will of nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a free future.

Ceding any of these struggles to extremists would have deadly consequences for the region and the world. So in Gaza and the West Bank and beyond, the international community must stand with the brave men and women who are working for peace.[This doesn’t sound like the US will retreat from Iraq which means it will attack Iran.]

Recent days have brought a chapter of upheaval and uncertainty in the Middle East. But the story does not have to end that way. After the wave of killing by Hamas last month, a 16-year-old girl in Gaza City told a reporter, “The gunmen want to destroy the culture of our fathers and grandfathers. We will not allow them to do it.” She went on, “I’m saying it’s enough killing. Enough.”

That young woman speaks for millions — in Gaza, the West Bank, in Israel, in Arab nations, and in every nation. And now the world must answer her call. We must show that in the face of extremism and violence, we stand on the side of tolerance and decency. In the face of chaos and murder, we stand on the side of law and justice. And in the face of terror and cynicism and anger, we stand on the side of peace in the Holy Land.

Thank you.

July 16, 2007 | 10 Comments »

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12 Comments / 10 Comments

  1. thanks Charles; I will get and read. Even the right and Rebublicans never defended the Argument that Bush was aiding the Saudis. The left never really exploited this issue! I wonder why? Could it be that the Saudis really control the agenda of both political parties in America both directly and through Corporate American Influence. The Old saying as GM goes so goes America, well we can add a lot more Corporations to this list, and I bet the Saudis have a sizable piece of most of them.

  2. Ted I hate to admit it here but I am comming around to your position and even more since I read Dr. Eugen Narretts essays and Gil Whites insights I am slowly coming to the seemingly implausible conclusion that there seem to be forces at work which transcend the narrow views to which most of us have become accustomed. They may explain some of the whys but not the how do we prevent them getting their ways.

  3. This speech would not have been possible had not the Hamas coup in Gaza taken place.

    This supports my theory that the coup was allowed to happen to cause a separation allowing the peace process to go forward.

  4. The fact that James Baker III as lawyer acted for the Saudis, his firm Baker Botts continues to act for the Saudis and James Baker has in past revealed his anti-Israel views, put James Baker III as co-chair of the ISG in a conflict of interest since his solution to America’s predicament in Iraq involved America pressuring Israel to concede ground and position to the Palestinians at least partly out of regard for Saudi sentiments.

    Whether that conflict was real or merely apparent, matters not. It was surprising the ISG was not beaten bloody over the head by Israel and the MSM with that conflict of interest.

    While there is good reason to beat Bush Sr. and Jr. over the head with their close affiliations with the Saudis, do not forget that Pres. Clinton too was indebted to the Saudis for their advice and assistance on a number of Muslim Middle East issues including Prince Bandar’s efforts to try to broker the Camp David deal in July 2000 between Ehud Barak and Arafat that Arafat walked away from and started the September 2000 intifada.

    While Bush Jr. has perhaps been the most protective of and helpful to the Saudis in allowing Saudis, including those who could have had information to impart regarding 9/11, to hurriedly leave the country right after 9/11 and escape U.S. jurisdiction, he is not the only President and member of the American ruling elite whose motives favoring and protecting the Saudis are highly suspect.

    Since the MSM is apparently not willing to move of their own accord to question the Bush Sr., Jr. and Clinton as regards the Saudis, it behooves those who do have such justified suspicions to keep raising the evidence, including the massive evidence of Saudi responsibility for radical Islam and their ongoing support of same that gives rise to those suspicions and consequential questions until the MSM has no choice but to pay heed and fulfill their duty to the public that they have thus far avoided fulfilling in any serious way.

  5. yamit

    If you haven’t already read it, you should pick up a copy of Craig Unger’s “House of Bush, House of Saud”. It delves into Bush’s relationship with the Saudis in excruciating detail — from his early days as a Texas oil man when the Saudis bailed him out of dry wells… to 9/11 when he rescued the Bin Laden family from being lynched.

    Along the way, Bush has ordered redaction of sections of the 9/11 report implicating the Saudis in the WTC attack, permitted his closest advisor and former Secretary of State (Baker) to defend the Saudis in the 9/11 victims lawsuit, arranged foreign aid for the Saudis (to fight terrorism!), approved lucrative reconstruction contracts in Iraq, spearheaded their WTO membership, turned a blind eye to Saudi funding of extremist mosques and madrassas in the US, ignored their “charitable contributions” to terrorist groups and the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, and approved thousands of visas for Saudi students to enter the US.

    I don’t often find myself agreeing with the left but I would be happy to see Bush impeached as a quisling and an enemy of the state.

  6. The conflict in Gaza and the West Bank today is a struggle between extremists and moderates.

    Nonsense. It is in fact a power struggle between two different terrorist factions.

  7. There is a small shaft of reality in Bush’s speech when he calls on the Arab League to participate in the peace process and to follow Sadat’s and King Hussein’s lead as peacemakers. With his challenge to the Arab League, Pres. Bush implictly acknowledges that the members of the Arab League have been thus far impediments to peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

    Otherwise Pres. Bush’s speech characterizing the issues, claiming the majority of Palestinians are anti-terrorism and pro peace with Israel in utter disregard of polls over the last year putting Palestinian support for Hamas and their goals and war against Israel at about 80% and claiming against all the evidence that Abbas/Fatah are moderate Muslims who can lead Palestinians to peace with Israel, is all fiction and wishful thinking.

    The longer Israeli leaders continue along the path of the Road Map’s wishful thinking premise of achieiving a two state solution as a necessary part of a peace deal between Israel and Palestinians, the more ground Israel is likely to lose and the more difficult it will be to turn Israel on a path that puts Israel interests first and foremost and not seek to balance Israeli with Palestinian interests where the balance is decidedly tipped in favor of the Palestinians in order for the Quartet to win Arab and Muslim world approval.

  8. Charles the only difference between us I never thought well of Bush and always thought him to be an imbicile. Whether or not he is a Saudi stooge? He certainly has done all an American president could to elevate Shia Dominance around the world at the expense of the Sunnis. Now in light of his speech today I can only reason that he now wants to shift his support to Sunnis where ever he can find any like Abbas and Sinnora in Lebanon. He is predicating his ambitions on Israel sacraficing itself so he can leave office with a legacy of at least trying to solve the worlds and Americas problems by doing what the Arab league and the Saudis want. What they want is what they say unabashedly NO MORE ISRAEL or at the very least a so weakened Israel that they might consider going another round.

    No American President has messed up and destabilized the whole region as Bush has! His push for Democracy almost pulled Mubarak down and untill he stepped in forcefully and stopped the slide to oblivion. Hamas and Hizbola are also entrenched within their governments due to Bushes push for Democracy. Elections and constitutions in Iraq Has Given the Iranians control over most of central and southern Iraq at the expense of the Sunni minority.

    Now his good guy bad guy version of the players in the middle east almost makes me want to throw up. Hell if the Leader of the most influentual and powerful country in the world really believes what he just said we are all in for very scary times.

    My gut tells me now would be a very opportune time to pick a fight with the Americans. I dont` think either Republicans or Democrats would relish going into elections with an anti Israel President as Leader. What would or could he do?

    I would also like to see our pygmy leadership start demanding some Quid for our ProQuo and like link any non lethal (to us )concessions we might make to Help Bush out be conditioned on what we get out of it ! For Starters : POLLARD NOW! A couple of nuke subs, with at least 50% co-production clauses. Just use imagination there must be much more!

  9. The Palestinian Ambassador to London, made is quite clear today that he doesn’t want peace with Israel.

    Short clip: http://uk.youtube.com:80/watch?v=_URTdMGFJAw

    The Palestinian Ambassador in London, Manuel Hassassian appears in an hour log interview with Donal Blaney in One to One at 8pm. During the in-depth interview he asserts:

    • that rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, the West Bank or Lebanon are justified – even if innocent civilians are killed;

    • that the famous footage of Palestinians dancing for joy on the streets on 9/11 was faked by the Israelis;

    • that Hamas should apologise to the Palestinian people; and says that while the Taleban may have been a little excessive in their modus operandi, at least they kept order.

  10. I supported Bush and the Roadmap for about a month following its introduction; my error was in believing that he and Sharon actually had a plan to take out all of the terrorist infrastructure including the Hamas Generals — perhaps a joint effort by the IDF and the CIA — and this might conceivably lead to a defanged and reformed Palestinian leadership willing to engage in goodfaith efforts towards a settlement.

    After Hamas had answered with several suicide bombings and Bush made a public appearance literally pleading for Arab support to stop the “killers”, I knew the Roadmap was a ruse and Bush either a Saudi stooge or an imbecile. No lessons had been learned in the intervening years since Oslo.

    Since 2002, I have tried to persuade politically conservative Zionists that Bush is in fact, Israel’s (and America’s) worst nightmare — a Republican masquerading as an evangelical and Israel’s “best friend” who in reality, is nothing but a lackey for the House of Saud and a quisling. No other US president has so aggressively sold out Israel while facilitating the growth in power and influence of Wahhabi Islam in the United States.

  11. This man is grabbing at straws so as to please his oil partners. He, like Olmert in Israel, is vying for the most hated man in the USA. I don’t believe that he dislikes Israel for itself but because it’s a pain in the ass regarding his relationship with Abdullah. The fact that Arabia is sending multitudes of fighters, allined with Al Quaida, to Iraq to fight and kill our troops doesn’t seem to phase him or his consience. I don’t believe him to be much of an American patriot with his mind set on the Mexican border.

    From an admired man during his first term, he went to a dispised person in his second. What happened?

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