It’s starting to feel a little like kicking a man when he’s down in making fun of the Bush Administration’s cluelessness in pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace. But I just had to do it given this utterly banal comment by Stephen Hadley featured in an AP interview published in Haaretz:
“This did not seem the time for a big, high-level, three-way event,” Stephen Hadley, Bush’s national security adviser, told reporters. “It just doesn’t feel right as the best way to advance the negotiation.”
Clearly, the reason he won’t be meeting together with Abbas and Olmert is that the two sides have made little or no progress and so such a meeting wouldn’t be productive for Bush. But this also concedes that Bush, in refusing to get them together, either has no interest or ability to prod the sides to come up with new, creative proposals to bridge their divide. The way policymakers talk about issues indicates how well they control their agenda and neither Hadley nor Bush have the least control of these negotiations. Otherwise, Hadley wouldn’t say something as lame as what he said above.
“It’s both symbolic and substantive,” Hadley said of Bush’s trip…
But what it mostly is is useless.
The White House decision for the president to see Abbas only while in Egypt, and not on another visit to the Palestinian territories, raised eyebrows with Palestinians – especially given the lavish attention being paid to Israel’s celebration.
“We are, in some sense, all over this process, both in Israel and in terms of the West Bank,” Hadley said. “And I think it just made sense in terms of the president’s scheduling and given the messages and the themes we wanted to strike, this seemed to be a good way to accomplish what we are trying to accomplish with the trip.”
In WHICH SENSE, precisely, are they “all over this process?” If they were all over it, they’d have produced results. Abbas complained bitterly a few days ago that no progress has been made, while Israel has announced new building plans around East Jerusalem. It is a truth almost universally accepted that these negotiations are on a slow boat to nowhere. But then I haven’t told you anything you didn’t already know. It’s just more of the same old Bush lies and wish-fulfilling fantasy-delusion.
So happy 60th Israel, our clown prince is on the way to join you in celebrating while the Titanic (that is, the peace process) lists heavily to starboard taking on water.