From Gaza City, a Challenge for Peace


Death of the Bush Doctrine
Thursday, January 24, 2008
By: Jeff Jacoby
Boston Globe
The Bush Doctrine — born on Sept. 20, 2001, when President Bush bluntly warned the sponsors of
violent jihad: “You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists” — is dead. Its demise was
announced by Condoleezza Rice last Friday.
The secretary of state was speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route with the president
to Kuwait from Israel. She was explaining why the administration had abandoned the most
fundamental condition of its support for Palestinian statehood – namely, an end to Palestinian
terror. Rice’s explanation, recounted here by The Washington Times, was as striking for its candor
as for its moral blindness:
“The ‘road map’ for peace, conceived in 2002 by Mr. Bush, had become a hindrance to the peace
process, because the first requirement was that the Palestinians stop terrorist attacks. As a result,
every time there was a terrorist bombing, the peace process fell apart and went back to square one.
Neither side ever began discussing the ‘core issues’: the freezing of Israeli settlements in the West
Bank, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, the outline of Israel ‘s border, and the future of
“‘The reason that we haven’t really been able to move forward on the peace process for a number
of years is that we were stuck in the sequentiality of the road map. So you had to do the first phase
of the road map before you moved on to the third phase of the road map, which was the actual
negotiations of final status,’ Rice said. . . . What the US-hosted November peace summit in
Annapolis did was ‘break that tight sequentiality. . . You don’t want people to get hung up on
settlement activity or the fact that the Palestinians haven’t fully been able to deal with the terrorist
infrastructure. . .'”
Thus the president who once insisted that a “Palestinian state will never be created by terror” now
insists that a Palestinian state be created regardless of terror. Once the Bush administration
championed a “road map” whose first and foremost requirement was that the Palestinians “declare
an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism” and shut down “all official . . . incitement against
Israel .” Now the administration says that Palestinian terrorism and incitement are nothing “to get
hung up on.”
Whatever happened to the moral clarity that informed the president’s worldview in the wake of
9/11? Whatever happened to the conviction that was at the core of the Bush Doctrine: that
terrorists must be anathematized and defeated, and the fever-swamps that breed them drained and
Bush’s support for the creation of a Palestinian state was always misguided — rarely has a society
shown itself less suited for sovereignty — but at least he made it clear that American support came
at a stiff price: “The United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Bush
Death of the Bush Doctrine Page 1 of 2 1/2/2011
said in his landmark June 2002 speech on the Israeli-Arab conflict, “until its leaders engage in a
sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure.” He reinforced that
condition two years later, confirming in a letter to Ariel Sharon that “the Palestinian leadership
must act decisively against terror, including sustained, targeted, and effective operations to stop
terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.”
Now that policy has gone by the boards, replaced by one less focused on achieving peace than on
maintaining a “peace process.” No doubt it *is* difficult, as Rice says, to “move forward on the
peace process” when the Palestinian Authority glorifies suicide bombers and encourages a
murderous yearning to eliminate the Jewish state. If the Bush Doctrine — “with us or with the
terrorists” — were still in force, the peace process would have been shelved once the Palestinians
made clear that they had no intention of rejecting violence or accepting Israel ‘s existence. The
administration would be treating the Palestinians as pariahs, allowing them no assistance of any
kind, much less movement toward statehood, so long as their encouragement of terrorism
But it is the Bush Doctrine that has been shelved. In its hunger for Arab support against Iran — and
perhaps in a quest for a historic “legacy” — the administration has dropped “with us or with the
terrorists.” It is hellbent instead on bestowing statehood upon a regime that stands unequivocally
with the terrorists. “Frankly, it’s time for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Rice says.
When George W. Bush succeeded Bill Clinton, he was determined not to replicate his
predecessor’s blunders in the Middle East, a determination that intensified after 9/11. Yet he too
has succumbed to the messianism that leads US presidents to imagine they can resolve the Arab-
Israeli conflict. Clinton ‘s legacy in this arena was the second intifada, which drenched the region
in blood. To what fresh hell will Bush’s diplomacy lead?
Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author. If you have a problem with the
correctness of the information, please contact the author.
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The Boston Globe
Letters to the Editor
January 22, 2008
IN BETWEEN the daily power outages of 10 to 12 hours in our lifeless
city, I took an interest in reading online Jeff Jacoby’s Jan. 16 op-ed
“Death of the Bush doctrine.” There never was a “Bush doctrine” for the
Palestinian issue, and there never will be.
Whether President Bush’s administration, or any other, cares to believe it,
the only doctrine that can mitigate Israel’s occupation and provide a path
for Palestinians and Israelis to emerge from this bloody conflict is that of
international humanitarian law. Ignoring this basic global reference point
is costing US taxpayers millions of dollars a day in supporting Israel and
providing humanitarian support for us, the people living (or trying to)
with the boot of Israeli military occupation on our necks.
I was surprised to read such a seasoned and supposedly well-informed
columnist end his piece by asking, “To what fresh hell will Bush’s
diplomacy lead?” I am currently living in the hell Jacoby speaks of – not
the one created only during and after Bush’s recent visit to the region,
but the one that is characterized by more than 40 nonstop years of Israeli
military occupation of the Gaza Strip.
I challenge the United States to wield its influence to get Israel to try the
only thing that it has refused to try to date to end the conflict: to
immediately end the Israeli occupation without any preconditions and
without holding my life and future hostage to some final-status solution
yet to be negotiated.
Al-Rimal, Gaza City
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