It doesn‘t have anything to do with military responses to the 9/11 attacks. Osama bin Laden is still apparently at large and our War on Terrorism is far from being determined a success by any measure. The verdict on terrorists vs. America will be judged during future U.S. administrations.
With the failure of Secretary of State Powell‘s April trip to the Middle East, the moment is here for the leader of the world‘s most powerful nation to force Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Please, no more public ultimatums to the warring parties, Mr. President. It is time to end any inclination to speak loudly and carry a small stick.
Bush junior will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents in American history. Just think - Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt, and Bush on Mount Rushmore. Airports, monuments, streets, and mountains named Bush. Proprietors bragging, “George W. Bush, the peace president, slept here.“
Most everyone believes (including most Israelis) in principal that a Palestinian state must be created near historical Palestine. It is also obvious (even to a majority of Arabs) that Israel should be allowed to exist as a nation within reasonable, secure borders. There you go - I think we have the makings of a final peace agreement. That wasn‘t so bad, was it?
Of course, the Middle East crisis is a little more complicated - but not much. Yet, no other U.S. president has been able to help provide a final solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem because of the details required in any such agreement. Will the Syrians allow a road around the Sea of Galilee for Israeli use? Can a Palestinian corridor be used to connect the Gaza Strip and West Bank? Who will control the Temple Mount in Jerusalem? One or two of these finer points always seem to prevent a final solution.
Still, the primary groundwork for a peace settlement has been laid in past negotiations. Just imagine the effects of peace: the war-mongering Israeli troops will be able to come home and throw down their arms. Arabs who encourage teenaged girls to strap on suicide bombs can return to legitimate activities. Best of all: the carnage will finally end. Most Middle East experts feel that all we need is the proper timing and environment for Palestinians and Israelis to sign a treaty allowing each faction to live side by side in peace.
The time is now, my friends. Most civilians on both sides are tired of war. Saudi Arabia has presented a reasonable peace plan for the region, similar to U.S. sponsored proposals of the past. The U.N. Secretary-General last week called for an international force in the territories occupied by Israel. Even PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon favor the creation of a new state of Palestine to co-exist near Israel.
Of course, at the moment, peace between Israelis and Palestinians seems about as remote as it was in the days of David and Goliath. That is where you come, Mr. President. It is the bottom of the ninth and you are being grooved a fat one over the plate. It is time to hit the grand slam of all peace agreements. And I predict you will come through.