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Resurrect Ariel from his coma

Reader comment on item: Bush Promotes a Palestinian "Right of Return"

Submitted by john w mcginley (United States), Jan 14, 2008 at 14:53

Olmert-and-Bush is a radically different mix, unfortunately, than Sharon-and-Bush. But short of miracle resurrection of Sharon, Olmert-and-Bush is the present reality for Israel. Further, the standing of Bush has been severely compromised since Sharon entered his coma as it became clear that his adenturism in Iraq -- which theoretically COULD have been successful -- was predicated on a Rumsfeld-oriented plan of action which radically and tragically low-balled the number of troops necessary for the mission. I still maintain that the corrective "surge" will have been too-little-too-late. It's a real mess.

I believe your article was very insightful in several ways. It is frightening to have the leader of the free world be a man who cannot intelligently deal with his own agendum in foreign policy. Also, your speculation that former Secretary of State Baker is now in a position of "feeding" the President his agendum is probably correct as well. Further I sense that Condileeza Rice herself now feeds the President his agendum using the frame of reference of Baker. Finally it is both pathetic and bathetic that this Administration -- which back in early 2001 was so clear-headed about the conditions which must be met before negotiating with the Palestinians -- now seems determined to close out its eight-year reign with a mix involving the end-of-Administration-"legacy"-imperatives characteristic of the way his father ended HIS administration with the Madrid initiative (and its horrendous aftermath) and the embarrassing despeartion by which President Clinton tried for the elusive title of "peacemaker" in 2000.

But today is 2008; not 2000, not 1992. Opportinities have been squandered both in America and since the coma of Sharon. "Olmert-Bush" IS in fact the reality. It is a reality which may be succeeded by a reality in which the United States will, within a year, be goverened by a Democratic Administration not kindly disposed to our "special" relationship with Israel. The Annapolis initiative may be the last realistic hope for some small degree of sanity in this matter before "the gathering storm" brings tragedy for all.

On the specific issue of the "right of return" I believe the ultimate Bush position is that it must be handled by compensation rather than by re-settlement. Further, most of "Judea and Samaria" will have to be given back to the Palestinians and most of East Jerusalem (but not the Temple Mount) will have to be handed over to the administrative control of the Palestinians. Finally, the outlines of a final and comprehensive settlement can be negotiated without immediately effecting the the terms of the settlement.

Certainly as long as Hamas is in control of Gaza no final settlement can be realistically effected. But it can be negotiated. When both sides are clear as to what the "final settlement" is to be, it will be possible, over time, to gradually actualize what has been negotiated. First in the West Bank and eventually even in Gaza. A final negotiated settlement can be accomplished before the end of 2008 with a time-table of effecting the agreement subject to the actual effectiing of certain realities "on the ground."

The metaphor is imperfect (in a paradoxical way), but consider what happens in an ugly and drawn-out divorce. Once the parameters of what the final settlement is to be, both parties, grudgingly, acquiesce to it. And in this metaphor the "homey"-esque character of President Bush, even as we bemoan-AND-celebrate that he is not "the brightest bulb in the chandelier," is just the kind of adjudicator called for.

Finally, let me offer this. Whatever compromises Israel must end up accepting, I am hopeful that somehow the final negotiated settlement will include the right of the Jewish Community now living within the present city limits of Hebron (and the space in that city which it now occupies) remain. If there can be effective Palestinian control of the Temple Mount even though it remains under the sovereignity of Israel, so too this historic presence of Jews IN Hebron can be maintained (with access to the Jewish state by a special highway being guarenteed just as Gaza and the West Bank will have access to each other by a special highway) even if the city of Hebron is part of Palestinian State.

John W. McGinley

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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