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Old 04-14-2004, 05:11 PM   #1
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Normal Bush backs down from the Road Map

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18393
Bush Backs Plan for Israel to Keep Part of West Bank
Sharons Proposal Would Also Deny Right of Return to Palestinian Refugees
By BARRY SCHWEID, AP

WASHINGTON (April 14) -- Breaking with long-standing U.S. policy, President Bush on Wednesday endorsed Israel's retention of part of the West Bank in any final peace settlement with the Palestinians. In a strong show of support for Israel's leader that brought immediate condemnation from the Palestinians, Bush also ruled out Palestinian refugees ever returning to Israel.

An elated Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his plan would create ''a new and better reality for the state of Israel.''

But minutes after Bush spoke, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said in Ramallah that ''he is the first president who has legitimized the (Israeli) settlements in Palestinian territories.''

Qureia added: ''We as Palestinians reject that. We cannot accept that. We reject it and we refuse it.'' Separately, anticipating what Bush would say, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had earlier called it ''the complete end of the peace process.''

Bush, in a historic news conference with a broadly smiling Sharon, endorsed as ''courageous'' the Israeli leader's plan to pull out of Gaza and parts of the West Bank.

The president said there were ''new realities'' on the West Bank since Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Mideast war. Bush said major Israeli population centers in the West Bank now make it ''unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return'' to pre-war borders.
Past U.S. administrations had anticipated only minor changes in the old borders as part of a final peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Bush's statement went much further, amounting to a clear endorsement of Sharon's proposal that some large Jewish settlements must remain on the West Bank temporarily, and a backing of the Sharon position that some Jewish settlements must always remain there.

Bush's endorsement of Sharon's plan came with no Palestinian leaders present - in what was sure to be seen by the Arab world as a strong favoring of Sharon and a slight to the Palestinians. Palestinian leaders had previously said they had been assured by the Bush administration that they would be consulted before any Bush endorsement of Sharon's plan.

Bush urged the Palestinians to match Israel's ''boldness and courage.''

Specifically, Bush said a final peace deal should call for Palestinian refugees to be settled in a Palestinian state, not in Israel.

Bush said the ''realities on the ground and in the region have changed greatly'' and should be reflected in any final peace deal - a key concession, sought by Sharon, to the fact that Israel has large groups of settlers in the West Bank.

Sharon said he was encouraged by Bush's support, which the Israeli leader had sought as a way to boost his own party's support. The Israeli leader said his ''disengagement'' plan would improve Israel's security and economy, and set the right conditions for negotiations with the Palestinians.

Asked outright if the United States recognized Israel's right to keep some settlements in the West Bank, Bush said Sharon had started the process of removing settlements from the West Bank.

He said final decisions about Israeli settlements in the West Bank had to wait for ''final status'' negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians on a Palestinian state.

Bush emphasized that Israeli settlements ''should be temporary rather than permanent, and therefore not prejudice any final status issues, including final borders.''

Both the Palestinians and Israelis have responsibilities to undertake in the search for peace, Bush said. Today, Israel ''stepped up to those responsibilities,'' Bush said, and Palestinians must do the same.

''If all parties choose to embrace this moment, they can open the door to progress and put an end to one of the world's longest-running conflicts,'' Bush said.

Sharon is hoping Bush can help him persuade hardliners in his Likud Party to back a withdrawal. Some 200,000 Likud members are to vote on the pullout plan, and approval is not assured.

Sharon has said he would honor the outcome of the vote, but has not spoken about resigning if he loses. However, his vice premier, Ehud Olmert, on Tuesday referred to such a possibility. If the Likud members vote no, ''they are destroying the political basis of the government headed by Sharon,'' Olmert told Israel Army Radio. Olmert said some opponents of the disengagement are trying to topple Sharon.


04-14-04 13:51 EDT

Well, this is incredible. It allows most of the road to peace to be between only Israel and the US. Bush also stated that the walls were ok, a matter of terrorist restriction not land stealing. If he mentioned the word terror many more times that would be all he said. As last night he never directly answers any freakin questions either, just talks around them.

But am I surprised
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:51 PM   #2
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Bush has the mental capacity of a piece of lint. The sooner that idiot and the rest of his crooked admin are gone will be none too
soon.
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Old 04-17-2004, 12:39 PM   #3
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Bush Move on Mideast May Sway Jewish Vote

Even small gains with the largely Democratic bloc could make a difference in November.
By Mark Z. Barabak
Times Staff Writer

April 17, 2004

When President Bush announced a major shift this week in Middle East policy, the news was heralded on the Republican Jewish Coalition website with smiling photos of Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and a headline declaring, "President Bush Backs Israel, Yet Again."

Bush's recognition of permanent Israeli settlements in the West Bank was "a watershed event" in the long, fraternal relationship between the United States and Israel, said William Daroff, the group's deputy chief.

Republicans are hoping the shift will mark a watershed in presidential politics as well.

Bush lost almost 80% of the Jewish vote to Democrat Al Gore in 2000, a performance consistent with patterns through much of the 20th century.

But GOP strategists and some independent analysts believe Bush could markedly improve that showing in November.

Few expect Bush to draw more Jewish votes than Sen. John F. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, who is a long-standing friend of Israel and was quick to second the policy shift.

However, even a marginal improvement in Bush's showing could make a difference, given the expected closeness of November's election in several states with significant Jewish populations, such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Noting the 537-vote margin by which Bush carried Florida, Daroff said that "changing one vote per condominium in one square mile" of the state's heavily Jewish "Gold Coast" could make the difference in November.
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Old 04-17-2004, 02:59 PM   #4
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And now Sharon's government have assassinated the leader of Hamas. What a great step forward for the peace process!
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Old 04-17-2004, 03:18 PM   #5
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
And now Sharon's government have assassinated the leader of Hamas. What a great step forward for the peace process!
I just saw the breaking news from CNN in my e-mail. Geez, I'm getting tired of assassinations and such. How totally Machiavellian. I'm getting this strange sense of being in the middle of some really decadent court with all of these political intrigues and scandals and such going on. It's like some dark, dirty story.........how's it supposed to end? Is it supposed to end at all? This is only going to stir up more terrorism I'm afraid, more Israelis will be killed.
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Old 04-17-2004, 04:25 PM   #6
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this assassination is so not good on so many levels
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Old 04-17-2004, 04:26 PM   #7
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From Ntlworld.com:

Top Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi has been assassinated when Israeli helicopters fired two missiles at his car.

Three Palestinians were also killed in the Gaza City air strikes.

Palestinian leaders have vowed to avenge the killing which came just hours after an Israeli border policeman by a Palestinian suicide bomber.

Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this Israeli crime and state terror. It is evident now to the world that the Palestinian people need international protection more than ever."

The identities of the men killed in the Gaza strike were not immediately known.
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Old 04-17-2004, 06:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
And now Sharon's government have assassinated the leader of Hamas. What a great step forward for the peace process!
Considering what Hamas has contributed towards peace, I'd say he got what was coming.
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Old 04-17-2004, 06:35 PM   #9
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Do you support the assassination, nbc? If so, in what way do you expect it to contribute to furthering the peace process?
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Old 04-17-2004, 06:41 PM   #10
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Considering what Hamas has contributed towards peace, I'd say he got what was coming.
I'm not going to defend the guy; he was a terrorist. But I don't support the assassinations policy Israel has adopted. They're turning these guys into martyrs. I saw a clip from the BBC on the assassination and they said that it's really going to stir up a ton of anger in the lands right around Israel. I don't think this is making Israel or the United States any safer. This is dangerous policy and won't stop the madness.
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Old 04-17-2004, 07:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
Do you support the assassination, nbc? If so, in what way do you expect it to contribute to furthering the peace process?
They killed a terrorist. One less person to coordinate suicide bombers. This doesn't add to the hatred - Palestinians are already taught that in their schools.
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Old 04-17-2004, 08:29 PM   #12
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I would be interested in what Israelis think of this. The people at the BBC seem to be really nervous about the consequences of this. What do the people most affected by the act think?
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Old 04-17-2004, 09:49 PM   #13
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They killed a terrorist. One less person to coordinate suicide bombers. This doesn't add to the hatred - Palestinians are already taught that in their schools.
Shall we link this to the Palestinian text book thread.....

Do let me get this straight....we are supposed to be upset of the death of this murdering SOB......and if we are not.....we are supporters of assasination.

Once again, we are insulting assassinated people. Clumping this f-ing murderer in with the likes fo MLK and Ghandi.

He is a terrorist leader who has helped conduct operations against civilians. He should have been a target a long long time ago.
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Old 04-18-2004, 04:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
They killed a terrorist. One less person to coordinate suicide bombers. This doesn't add to the hatred - Palestinians are already taught that in their schools.
So you do support it?

I don't know where people get the idea that Israel's actions aren't in any way responsible for Palestinian people's resentment of Israel. When Israel imposes curfews preventing Palestinians from going to school or work or even outside of their home, it causes resentment. When Israel bombs cities in Gaza, killing innocent people, it causes resentment. When Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian children it causes resentment. And yes, when Israel assassinates the leader of Hamas it causes resentment.

You can debate whether those actions are justified or not, but don't try to pretend they don't influence the Palestinian people's opinions about Israel.
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Old 04-18-2004, 05:10 AM   #15
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Do let me get this straight....we are supposed to be upset of the death of this murdering SOB......and if we are not.....we are supporters of assasination.

Once again, we are insulting assassinated people. Clumping this f-ing murderer in with the likes fo MLK and Ghandi.
If you support Israel's actions then yes you do support assassination. I don't really understand why people are so horrified by this. Israel assassinated the leader of Hamas, if you support it that's fine, but why try to pretend it's something it isn't?

Even Jack Straw is describing this as assassination, as is the foreign minister of Italy.
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