The Administration is completing a stunning reversal of decades-old policy on the Middle East. In an under-reported speech on Friday, UN Ambassador Negroponte set out the conditions that must be met for the US to approve any UN resolution on the Mideast conflict. Among other things, the requirements include an explicit condemnation of terrorism; condemnation by name of Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and Hamas; and improvement in Israel’s secrity situation as a prerequisite to withdrawal to pre-Infantada positions. The era of moral equivalence is finished. The President has brushed aside the State Department, the Europeans and the Arabs, and now they (with the possible exception of the State Department) are falling in line behind him. The Jerusalem Post quotes the outgoing chief of the Israeli General Staff: “Bush’s speech [demanding reform of the Palestinian Authority and freedom for Palestinians] had a long-term strategic effect since it actually created a delegitimation of the Palestinian Authority and encourages the changing of its leadership….The speech created an earthquake among the Palestinian leadership.”
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