Friday, November 12, 2004


Surprise me

Ha'aretz runs an op-ed by Aluf Benn today that concludes on the likely US response to Arafat's death:

"President George Bush is in no rush to change directions in the Middle East. He is rejecting Europe's urgings that he rush forward with negotiations and evict Israel from the territories in exchange for improved trans-Atlantic relations.

White House officials Elliott Abrams and Daniel Fried told European emissaries this weekend that 'there are no shortcuts.' America is unwilling to skip the first stage of the road map, which requires the Palestinians to halt terror, dismantle the terrorist organizations and enact governmental and security reforms. The Europeans and new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas want to go straight to final-status negotiations on borders, refugees and Jerusalem. But Washington insists that the new leadership prove itself first. "

Nothing wrong with halting terror, but "dismantle the terrorist organizations and enact governmental and security reforms" just means carrying on with whatever Israel and the US have got planned and hope that the Palestinians will eventually accept whatever terms they are offered. Which might work. In any case, no departure should be expected from the policy that Pakistan's Daily Times quotes another unamed European "commentator" as describing thus:
“Bush wants Palestine to become Sweden before it can become Palestine.”

No other source for this, but it hardly seems controversial.

(As an aside, I've been using the same analogy for a few years now, only with Denmark rather than Sweden.)

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