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Where In The World Is President Bush?
(Written by Tommy Ates. Posted April 3, 2002)

"Where in the world is President Bush?"

Unlike the popular children's game "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?," one doesn't need to play detective to realize that President Bush needs to get involved in order to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A crisis that is moving towards an all-out guerrilla war with each passing hour.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is currently under virtual house arrest in his office in Ramallah in the West Bank. The office compound, along with other Palestinian Liberation Organization offices in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, has been destroyed and their fledging government is literally in ruins. The U.S. Mideast peace envoy, Ret. General Anthony Zinni, has been making futile attempts to forge a cease-fire, but in order for his mission to be successful, he needs to get a full pledge of support from the Bush administration. So far, he has received backpedaling and confusing statements in solid support behind Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon.

In the meantime across the Middle East, Arab sentiment has begun to coalesce into strong support for Yasser Arafat and the continued Intifada. The 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference recently gathered and announced resolutions in support of the Palestinians and (emphatically) ruling out any unilateral action against any member state(s) accused or known to be involved in supplying the Intifada (Syria, Iran, and Iraq). The group also supported the Saudi peace plan that reaffirms the borders between Israel and Palestine before the 1967 Mideast war. And it doesn't help matters, that in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah has started shelling northern Israel again.

And all the while, President Bush is literally "out on the ranch" in Crawford, Texas.

In addition to the Middle East, confidence in the United States from the European Union has eroded as nearly every nation (as well as the U.K.) has denounced the war excursions by Israel and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Even Germany (Israel's closest European ally) has asked for access by peace envoys to reach Chairman Arafat in his isolation, but such offers were quickly refused by Israel. Sharon's volley that Arafat should leave Ramallah to sent into exile has fallen by deaf ears and closed many minds regarding the likelihood that peace in the region could ever be accomplished with Sharon at the helm of the government.

With the Middle East and Europe both coming to the side of the Palestinians and their struggle for independence via the Intifada, United States has become the sole supporter of Israel's war stance towards Palestine. President Bush's 'on again off again' support for Ariel Sharon illustrates how the terror doctrine (that the United States is following since the Afghan war with the Taliban) has trapped the president from dealing fairly with Yasser Arafat in same respect as the Israelis. Neither Bush, nor Vice President Cheney, has met with Arafat and in late 2001, Bush deliberately snubbed him in his Middle East trip to the region.

Americans, themselves, are feeling frightened and confused as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict threatens to isolate U.S. foreign policy from Europe and moderate Islamic countries. Ties with Israel (i.e., American Jewry) grow deep here, yet as American and world television shows the Israeli incursions into Palestine, the increasing indiscriminate way the Israeli military hunts the terror cells, causes American support for the Israeli offensive to fall. And with the clamor of the world facing the White House, President Bush remains hunkered down by his terror pledge of 'us or them' (the terrorists), he intends to stand firm with Sharon, hoping the image of the strong war presidency will curb international and congressional criticism.

This tactic will fail.

The reason why is that 'the patriotic honeymoon' the crisis of Sept.11 brought between the American people and President Bush is over. People, the news media, and (most importantly) Congress are beginning to question the direction, duration, and long-term impact of the war on terror. A war in which the future of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now, Israel and Palestine, has still yet to be decided.

So, for these reasons and the mounting Israeli-Palestine death toll, President Bush needs to emerge from 'symbolic hiding' behind Ret. General Anthony Zinni (whose hands are tied) and place a face of confidence behind a peace initiative in tatters. And we cannot waste time to save 'face,' Israel is losing Egypt (broke off all diplomatic contact save Palestinian concerns) and Jordan (rising pan-Arab political pressure), the most 'moderate' of Arab nations and the only two to establish normalized, diplomatic relations with Israel.

More than anything, President Bush needs to come forward because the Israel-Palestine conflict has the right ingredients to cause an conflagration in the Arab world regarding the United States and the West, and with Europe's wholesale disapproval of Sharon's hardliner tactics (including Britain), this potential conflict may be one the U.S. will have to go it 'alone' - with Israel in ruins.

And that is a possibility no one wants to face.

About the author: Tommy Ates loves the left because the left is always right! Tommy Ates is a featured columnist of Left Is Right ( appearing in several publications, such as The Houston Chronicle, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, The Wichita Eagle, The Macon Telegraph, and Global Black News, among others. His email address is

Copyright 2002  All rights reserved.

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