During his visit to London last month, President Bush cautiously addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “Israel should freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people, and not prejudice final negotiations with the placements of walls and fences.”
Faced with strong U.S. Senate opposition led by Democrats Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd and independent Jim Jeffords, President Bush waited until Congress had adjourned before giving Daniel Pipes an interim appointment to the U.S. Institute of Peace. For the next 16 months, Pipes will serve as one of 15 members on the board of a think tank created by Congress in 1985.
White House spin masters have discovered the beauty of the sea. First there was the decision to hold an aircraft carrier offshore long enough for President Bush to stage his dramatic landing attired in a flight suit.
A painful accompaniment to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is the estrangement it has caused between mainline Protestants and Jews. For decades mainline Protestants have fostered theological dialogue with the Jewish community. Christian and Jewish scholars have worked together on common texts and common history.
Only days after President Bush stood in Aqaba, Jordan, on June 4 and touted a road map to peace in the Middle East—with Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas at his side—his plan was nearly in shreds. The Palestinian militant group Hamas snubbed the road map, rejected Abbas’s appeals for a cease-fire and launched terrorist attacks in Jerusalem.
I have two files on my computer desktop labeled “Rachel” and “Shaden.” They remind me of the deaths of an American woman and a Palestinian woman. One contains stories and editorials about Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old native of Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death on March 16 by an Israeli bulldozer. Rachel died as she was protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home in Rafah, Gaza.
The release of President Bush’s “roadmap” to peace in the Middle East, designed to lead to a Palestinian state by 2005, brings to mind the famous New Yorker cartoon in which a scientist, after filling a blackboard with a complicated mathematical formula, ends with the words “and then a miracle happens.” A colleague observes: “I think there’s a problem with your last step.” In the case of th
A viable two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is dying; perhaps it is already dead. This reality should prompt new theological and political analysis among Christians and others who yearn for justice, peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis.
On the ground in Jerusalem, one can see how much syndicated columnist Thomas Friedman overlooks. Friedman, the premier media commentator in the U.S. on foreign affairs, would have us believe that—as a liberal Jewish thinker—he doesn’t think Israel should hold on to occupied lands, and he will indeed say that settlements in occupied lands are a bad thing.