We’ve wondered for a long time what Plan B is under the Middle East “road map.” President Bush provided a partial answer yesterday when he squarely blamed Yasser Arafat for the fact that the peace plan is “stalled”:
“[Mahmoud Abbas’] efforts were undermined, and that’s why we’re now stalled. Mr. Arafat has failed as a leader. . . . Abbas was undermined at all turns by the old order — that meant Mr. Arafat.
“I am still committed to peace because I believe the vast majority of people want peace, and I am still committed to the road map. But I’ll remind those who focus on the road map that the first thing the road map said was that there must be security in order for peace to advance, that there must be a collective effort to fight off terror. Mr. Arafat has failed in that effort.”
All true. Whether the administration ever had as much confidence in Abbas as it expressed publicly is an open question. But it wasn’t a bad idea to assume, and thereby to test, his capacity and good faith. The question, obviously, is where we go from here. For now, at least, I take it the administration’s policy is to stand back and let Israel do what it must do to control terror. Right again, for the foreseeable future, at least.
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