Saul Singer, Editorial Page Editor of the Jerusalem Post, has an excellent column that takes off from a Power Line post, draws an analogy between the Berlin Wall and the Palestinian refugee camps, and concludes with advice for President Bush:
June 12 was the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s “tear down this wall!” speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. On the popular blog Power Line, Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson describes how he drafted that line after meeting with Berliners whose raw anger at the scar crossing their city surprised him. He also recounts the pitched battle waged by the US foreign policy bureaucracy to remove those key words from the draft speech.
On Sunday, another anniversary arrives, this time of one of the most pivotal speeches of the Bush presidency. On June 24, 2002, Bush called on “the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror.”
THOUGH WE do not yet have the history of how this speech was written, we can imagine that Bush showed considerable determination in going directly opposite to the conventional wisdom of the time – including massive pressure from Tony Blair – to impose some new initiative on then-besieged Israel.***
Instead, Bush, for first time, linked Palestinian statehood not to Israeli behavior but to Palestinians embracing democracy and rejecting terror. The result was immediate and dramatic.***
Now Bush is reportedly considering commemorating his 2002 speech with another landmark address on the Middle East. The timing, just after the Hamas’s “Six Day War” against Fatah in Gaza, is propitious. What should Bush say?
*** [H]e should challenge Fatah to take advantage of this golden opportunity. Just as Hamas now has no one to hide behind and must be held responsible for any attacks from Gaza, so Fatah must be held accountable for building a peaceful, law-abiding Palestinian state. Unfettered by Hamas, Fatah must now take real steps toward peace with Israel.
THIS WILL bring Bush to the nub that will make history. The most powerful way for Bush to call on the soon to be aid-flush Fatahland to hold up its end of the bargain is to dismantle the core symbol of the rejection of Israel’s right to exist: refugee camps.
It’s a very intriguing idea; read it all.
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