Today President Bush gave a speech on the conflict between Israel and its neighbors under the control of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The text of the speech is here. Among other things, the speech announces a regional conference to be chaired by Secretary Rice and attended by representatives from nations that support a two-state solution, reject violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and commit to all previous agreements between the parties. It should be an extremely small meeting.
The president’s speech appears to have been inspired by the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, which I wrote about here in “Fully Bakered.” Heavy on the subjunctive (advising various parties what they “should” do), the speech is a farrago of nonsense, wishful thinking, counterfactual assertions, and policy contradicted by previous commitments made by Bush himself (“[u]nder the roadmap, Palestinians must undertake an immediate cessation of armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere, and all official Palestinian institutions must end incitement against Israel”). I leave it to others smarter than I to explicate the deep meaning of this disappointing speech.
UPDATE: Rick Richman elaborates in “Bush’s old promise and new peace plan.” John Podhoretz finds that “W didn’ change Mideast bottom line” in the speech.
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