The Trunk and I have different views of President Bush’s speech last night. Mine is optimistic; I read the speech as abandoning the pretense (or maybe reality) of neutrality between Israel and the Palestinians; requiring the demise of Arafat and the rest of the PA terrorists; and giving the Israelis a green light to do whatever is necessary until such time as the Palestinians get their act together by dumping Arafat, adopting normal institutions, and ceasing all terror activity. I think that’s how the Israelis are viewing it, at least according to this article in the Jerusalem Post.
The Trunk can explain his more pessimistic view better than I can, but I take it that the main risk he sees is that these principles will be betrayed in their implementation. A huge risk, I agree, but now that Bush has (as I read it) broken free of the State Department’s policy of evenhandedness, I’m hopeful it won’t happen. The other fundamental question, obviously, is whether acceptable leadership will emerge, and more broadly, whether the Palestinians as a whole really prefer peace and freedom to the opportunity to continue being mass murderers. I think we have to have faith that even in the crazed world of the Palestinian Arabs, most people, given the opportunity, would like to enjoy peace, freedom and prosperity. If that’s the case, then I don’t think it is unrealistic to hope that responsible leadership can emerge over time.
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