In the months after September 11th, the Bush adminstration were looking for someone or some thing to hit, what ever happened to focusing on groups that we already know are terrorists groups. Why didn’t we attack Hamas and Hezbollah? We know where they are, sort of. (we had no idea where the WMD’s were in Iraq). So this was a global War on Terror. Why didn’t we do anything about them? Help me understand. Could it be that there isn’t a thoughtful leader in control at the time? Maybe.
A lack of focus and attention to Israel started when Bush took office. He has really ignored the Palestine-Israel problem ever since he got on into office. Remember that he had several months in which Bush asked for the Palestinian people to chose new leadership. Remember that? Then there was a couple of months when he actively supported Ariel Sharon. He actually spoke up and proposed a “road map” to peace but in the typical Bush way – he put nothing behind it. He didn’t get involved with negotiations. Aside from some major speeches on CNN, Colin Powell was not allowed to get directly involved in this conflict either. Therefore, Ariel Sharon was forced to make a decision. Do nothing or try to do something on his own. That was when he came up with the fence idea. He would build a security fence. Again, he did this without any significant input from President Bush. President Bush did not and would not negotiate with Yasser Arafat. The Bush administration continued to call for elections. Yasser Arafat dies. This left a power vacuum in Palestine. I thought that chaos would take hold as people fought for power. It didn’t happen. At least not in public.
Instead the death of Yasser Arafat had to sit for a little while. The Palestinian Authority had to fester. Statewide elections were held. Surprisingly, only to outsiders, Hamas won the elections. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas began to have their showdown, to fight for power. Hamas refuses to recognize the right of Israel to exist. The US backs Abbas and Israel. The United States discontinues the aid necessary to keep the country running. The United States asks other nations to stop funding Palestinians. The police don’t get paid. Other City workers don’t get paid. Of course, this was a golden opportunity for Iran. Iran steps in and begins sending money, although at reduced levels, they do begin sending aid, financial aid to the Palestinian people.
This whole situation with Israel, Palestine, Hezbollah and Hamas is nothing more than a volatile soup made with nitroglycerin and stirred with matches. Violence. Violence within Palestine. Hamas strikes against Israel. They kidnap an Israeli soldier. No peaceful words from the most powerful nation on the planet. Only, Israel has a right to defend itself.
Finally, I look on this conflict as brothers fighting. There is no solution that will please everyone. No one is completely right nor completely wrong. Suicide bombers need to stop. Foreign aid and foreign investment will be necessary to raise the Palestinian people out of abject poverty. Israel needs security. They both have to figure a way to share the small plot of land. Israel has the right to exist.
For more on the current state of affairs.
More on the Road Map.
Finally, this piece started out being a critique on Bush’s leadership. We know that Al Qaeda is in Somalia and Indonesia. Why haven’t we made a huge effort to “root ’em out” in these countries? Again, it is leadership. We are bogged down in Iraq and we are allowing Al Qaeda to live and get stronger in these areas.