IN OTHER WORDS: New take
President Bush’s visit to the Middle East last week offered a graphic primer on his failed policies — and the many dangers his successor will face. In Israel, President Bush spoke again about his vision of a two-state solution with Palestinians and Israelis living side by side in peace. But after ignoring the conflict for seven years, the negotiations he opened in Annapolis last November have made little apparent progress. And Bush did not use the trip to press either side to make even minimum concessions. The Israelis need to halt all settlement activity. The Palestinians need to do more to end attacks on Israel. The United States needs to be ready to press compromise proposals, something Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, show little interest in doing.
After a three-day stay in Jerusalem, Bush met the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in Egypt — not Ramallah — a fact that was duly and angrily noted by Palestinians. The next president will have to make a much stronger, and earlier, commitment to the peace process, appoint a more skilled and creative team of advisers and resolve to be a more sensitive and honest broker than Bush. Americans need to hear from the presidential candidates — now — about how they plan to reverse this disastrous legacy.