IsraPundit

WE'VE MOVED! IsraPundit has relocated to www.israpundit.com. Click here to go there now.
News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 23, 2003

WHITHER THE ROADMAP?

The Center for Security Policy will begin running television advertisements starting with the FoxNews Sunday program this weekend urging that an end to Palestinian violence be a precondition to U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state. This is, of course, precisely what President Bush had in mind when he unveiled his vision for Mideast peace on 24 June 2002. On that occasion, he declared: "The United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure." (Emphasis added.)

Unfortunately, this eminently sensible precondition was not part of the so-called "Roadmap" Mr. Bush was induced to adopt at the urging of four entities with long records of hostility towards Israel -- the United Nations, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the U.S. State Department. That plan, formally presented to the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority on 1 May, would establish by the end of 2003 "provisional boundaries for a Palestinian State" -- whether or not its leaders had "engage[d] in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle[d] their infrastructure"!

The Center's ad campaign is especially timely in light of developments today. Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice issued an unusual joint statement announcing that, in light of "significant concerns" the Israeli government has expressed about the Roadmap, "the United States shares the view of the Government of Israel that these are real concerns, and will address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the Roadmap to fulfill the President's vision of June 24, 2002."

A similar message was evidently imparted by President Bush himself in a phone conversation to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Apparently moved by these assurances, Mr. Sharon said, according to the New York Times web-site, that "he was 'prepared to accept' the Road map...and would present it to his cabinet for approval on Sunday." The Times made clear the Bush Administration's view that "The carefully worded [Powell-Rice] statement is a result of a negotiated agreement [between the Israelis and] Washington and is considered a significant step forward in the Middle East peace effort."

In the wake of these developments, Center President Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. observed: "It is hard to believe that Prime Minister Sharon would embrace this clearly defective Roadmap in the absence of an explicit commitment from the President to change its central defect - the elimination of Mr. Bush's visionary precondition of an end to terror before a Palestinian state could be recognized. Yet, it would appear that he has done so under intense U.S. pressure since the New York Times reports that Secretary of State Powell insisted in Paris today that, notwithstanding his joint statement with Dr. Rice and the President's promises to Mr. Sharon, 'This does not require us to change the road map.'"

Gaffney added: "The Center for Security believes that the Roadmap does need to be changed - to ensure that it conforms with the President's stated vision for peace in the Mideast and, more importantly, to give it any hope of actually advancing that goal. The Center's television ads will point out the inconsistency between what Mr. Bush seeks and what is being done in his name so as to prevent this Roadmap from becoming a formula for an assisted suicide for the Jewish State, and a disaster for vital American interests in Israel's survival as a secure and self-reliant strategic outpost for freedom."