Ron Kampeas’s insightful column was quite informative (“Bush goes to Israel,” Jan. 11). Bush wants illegal settlement outposts removed.
Kampeas points out that Olmert’s “predecessor, Ariel Sharon, argued with the Americans that Israel’s actions on settlements would come after Palestinians demonstrated an ability to prevent terrorism.”
This has not happened yet. Bush has previously upheld Israel’s right to defend itself, while stressing the Palestinians’ duty to dismantle terrorist infrastructures and renounce violence.
Last July, he declared: “the Palestinian people must decide that they want a future of decency and hope, not of terror and death.” Bush’s policies previously seemed unequivocal.
He repeatedly affirmed America’s support for Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, and so ruled out the Arabs’ demand for the resettlement of millions of Palestinians within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.
He further recognized the reality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and insisted that any agreement take that reality into account.
The Palestinians, along with most other Arabs and Muslims, are single-mindedly focused on the destruction of Israel, to “wipe it off the map.”
If Israel were pressured into ending the “occupation” of the territories, it would not bring peace.
On the contrary, it would bring about bloody warfare, just as in Gaza and Lebanon, and could well be the end of Israel. Those who advocate the ending of the “occupation” do so either out of ignorance or because they have a death wish for Israel. With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a weak leader, and with Hamas in control of Gaza, and the negotiations between him and weak Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, there can be no realistic expectation of a lasting peace agreement being achieved anytime soon.