I wish the New York Times would make up its mind. Helene Cooper says the Bush administration has followed a "hands-off" policy toward the Palestinians, but (three days later) Steven Erlanger admits "significant injections of American political and military advice and aid" going to Abu Mazen / Fatah.
That's not what I wanted to show you, though. Check this out - paragraph #14 of Erlanger's front page piece in today's NYT:
There is even talk of
with Mr. Abbas
to create a Palestinian state
in provisional borders
in much of the West Bank and East Jerusalem,
with Gaza left for another time
— a way to use the road-map peace plan President Bush endorsed.
This idea was floated by a former Clinton Administration official, Martin Indyk, now director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, in an opinion article published Friday in The Washington Post.
A way to use the road map?
Does he mean the "performance-based and goal-driven roadmap, with clear phases, timelines, target dates, and benchmarks aiming at progress through reciprocal steps by the two parties in the political, security, economic, humanitarian, and institution-building fields, under the auspices of the Quartet [the United States, European Union, United Nations, and Russia]" ?
Does he mean the roadmap in which "A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty..." ?
That roadmap? The one that called for "Ending Terror And Violence, Normalizing Palestinian Life, and Building Palestinian Institutions" -- by May 2003 ?
I remember that roadmap.
Phase I. Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere....
Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
So I'm guessing that what Erlanger - or Indyk - means by "a way to use the roadmap" is simply not to use it at all. Never mind the road from here to there, just beam me up, Scotty! Give 'em a state!
There were too many detours in the original roadmap, anyway, resulting in what Wikipedia euphemistically refers to as a "Halt in implementation."
President Bush visited the Middle East from June 2-4 2003 for two summits in an attempt to push the road map as part of a seven-day overseas trip through Europe and Russia.
On June 2, Israel freed about 100 Palestinian political prisoners before the first summit ... as a sign of goodwill.
In Egypt on June 3, President Bush met with the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain, and with Prime Minister Abbas. The Arab leaders announced their support for the road map and promised to work on cutting off funding to "terrorist groups."
On June 4, Bush headed to Jordan to meet directly with Sharon and Abbas.
Halt in implementation
After Bush left the region... On June 5, 2003, the bodies of two Israelis were found near Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem, beaten and stabbed to death.
On June 8, 2003, Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi directed an attack that killed four Israeli soldiers at the Erez Checkpoint in the Gaza Strip.
On June 10, 2003, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at a car in Gaza in a failed attempt to assassinate Rantissi; two Palestinians were killed.
The next day, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 17 passengers and bystanders on an Israeli bus.
.... On July 1, 2003, in Jerusalem, Sharon and Abbas held a first-ever ceremonial opening to peace talks, televised live in both Arabic and Hebrew. Both leaders said the violence had gone on too long and that they were committed to the U.S.-led road map for peace.
.... On February 13, 2004 the United States government decided that it would endorse Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for a unilateral withdrawal of
mostIsraeli settlements from the Gaza Strip, adding that "...negotiations were impossible because of Palestinian recalcitrance."
.... On July 18, 2004, United States President George W. Bush stated that the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of 2005 was unlikely "due to instability and violence in the Palestinian Authority" ....