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Posted by on May 15, 2008 in Religion | 5 comments

Bush’s Role in the Middle East: ‘What a Shame’

As President Bush visits an Israel celebrating its 60th anniversary, Arabs and Palestinians commemorate the “Nakba,” which in Arabic means “the catastrophe.”

For a sampling of what all nations in the region outside of Israel think of the events and President Bush’s visit, a good place to start would be this editorial from Jordan’s Jordan Times.

It reads in part:

“U.S. President George W. Bush yesterday arrived in Israel to cheer that country’s independence and celebrate Israeli democracy. … Bush hailed Israel as an example to the region. One wonders which example Bush was referring to. How to get rid of a pesky native population? How to create a democracy for 80 percent of its people, based on their ethno-religious backgrounds, and present itself as a haven for progressive values? Or could it have been how it has occupied a neighboring territory and people and blame the victims for their oppression?”

EDITORIAL

May 15, 2008

Jordan – The Jordan Times – Home Page

U.S. President George W. Bush yesterday arrived in Israel to cheer that country’s independence and celebrate Israeli democracy. He’s also there to push forward stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Bush hailed Israel as an example to the region. One wonders which example Bush was referring to. How to get rid of a pesky native population? How to create a democracy for 80 percent of its people, based on their ethno-religious backgrounds, and present itself as a haven for progressive values? Or could it have been how it has occupied a neighboring territory and people and blame the victims for their oppression?

Clearly oblivious to his own administration’s policies, he then said democratic reform was the way forward for this region and that Israel was showing the way.

Hamas showed the way as well, but it seems that democracy means voting for “people like us” not “people like them.”

And so, blundering along, Bush hopes to push forward peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. He comes not as one demanding anything of either side but, as he put it in a recent interview, but as “one who encourages.”

That’s a shame, because if he wanted to “demand,” he would be on pretty solid ground. He could demand, for instance, that Israel adhere to international law, stop its illegal construction of settlement in occupied territory, signal its intention to end its illegal occupation of foreign territory and assist in the creation of a Palestinian state.

He could demand that justice be rendered to Palestinian refugees who, like all refugees, have a right to dignity, property, and return if they so wish – and to “freedom” … that fine word that Bush uses so often.

READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US, along with continuing foreign press coverage of President Bush’s visit to the region.

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