Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Show Some Political Courage

Given the nature of a certain dialogue the blogosphere was having amongst its selves late last week, I was very glad to notice this:
President Bush stepped up pressure on the Palestinians one day after a suicide bomb attack, urging President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to show the "political courage" to rein in militants.

Bush called Israel's withdrawal from Gaza the first step toward creating a democracy for the Palestinians. "It took political courage to make that decision," Bush said of the withdrawal of Jewish settlers.

"And now it's going to take political courage by the Palestinians and ... Abbas to step up, reject violence, reject terrorism and build a democracy," he added during a speech in El Mirage, Arizona.

Bush's comments marked an escalation in U.S. pressure on Abbas to begin taking action against militants in response to Israel's withdrawal.

The call for action appeared to run counter to assertions by Palestinian officials in Washington that the White House understood that Abbas and his security forces would need more time to prepare for any major push to disarm the militants.
Does anyone remember a time that the Palestinians haven't urged Washington to be understanding when it comes time for them to implement their side of the peace deal?

I can't imagine, myself, that that particular argument is going to find any resonance with President Bush. He's seen too many other leaders showing political courage in other world theatres to find this attempt to stall and hedge convincing.
A senior Bush administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issues, said the White House believes that Abbas already has the means to restrain the groups responsible for attacks on Israel.

"We want him to be a responsible leader. He needs to rein in the groups that want to harm the 'road map' process," the official said, referring to the U.S.-backed peace process that envisions creating a viable Palestinian state.

Abbas has said he prefers to co-opt gunmen into the Palestinian security services and political system rather than dismantle them.
Uh huh. In other words, Abbas would rather not do anything. And hope no one notices. After all, why not? This method worked beautifully the whole time Arafat was in office.

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