Thursday, April 14, 2005

For all of you keeping score at home...

So on Monday, Pres. Bush had important remarks on the Middle East and Israel in particular. It was picked up by Al Jazeera as a negative stance towards settlement expantion, but in general this is a continuation of Bush's strong support of Sharon and Israel. Notice the "development of the Golan and Negev" clause. This is tacit support by the US for the next front of demographic problems for Israel: the Golan, which is already a fair majority Arab. The hope is (I am guessing) that the US is going to pump money in the North as a trade. "We get out of Gaza, and you make sure we won't have to give up any more territory later."
The United States is working with Palestinians and Israelis to improve security on the ground. We are cooperating with the Palestinians to help them fulfill all their obligations under the road map, especially sustained, effective operations to stop terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. Building true security for Israelis and Palestinians demands an immediate, strong and sustained effort to combat terrorism in all its forms.
Bush's mention of concrete security measures is significant. According to my research, it is with regards to stopping the smuggling of projectiles into Gaza. But more may have developed since I left. These statements really set the tone for negotiations over there, it's not just empty political banter.

Dr. Rice's remarks are interesting, but do not talk about security, the red letter topic over there (and the subject of my research over the summer). She did however say that disengagement first, aid second. This is a very important position of the American's because the US carrot is crucial. We give more than any other country to the Pals and this is a change from the World Bank's reports on disengagement, which was out this summer.

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