Five years and three weeks ago, Bush delivered his first two-state speech, envisioning “two states [Israel and Palestine] living side by side in peace.” A year and a half before his term ends, the American president on Saturday tried to save something of his vision. This time, though, Bush did not spell out a timetable but chose to express support for Mahmoud Abbas and supports the idea that “the Palestinian government must arrest terrorists, dismantle their infrastructure and confiscate illegal weapons.”

However, as policy analyst Aaron Lerner notes, “the program of ‘moderate’ Abbas is to put terrorists on the Palestinian Authority [PA] payroll, integrate the terror infrastructure into the Palestinian security system and upgrade their weapons.” Meanwhile, Bush talks of the “moderate” PA “confiscating” illegal weapons, not destroying them. In Lerner’s words, “Bush apparently endorses the bizarre situation that the Palestinians can smuggle in whatever weapons they want and then ‘confiscate’ them so that they can keep them regardless of the restrictions agreed upon in the various Oslo agreements.”

Fatah is, by definition, anything but dedicated to peace and reconciliation. The Fatah constitution calls for the “complete liberation of Palestine, and obliteration of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.” As for how it will achieve its goal to wipe Israel off the map, Fatah’s constitution minces no words: “Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab people’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.”

Abbas called on Palestinians to refrain from internal fighting and to direct their guns only against Israeli “occupation.” Abbas went on to say that he would “not give up one inch of land in Jerusalem” – all of Jerusalem.

President Bush overlooks the fact that Abbas was elected in January 2005 on a platform calling for the “right of return” to allow all Palestinian Arab refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants to take back the villages that no longer exist inside Israel. In other words, President Bush’s latest speech for peace embraces a Palestinian who cannot and will not deliver the goods.

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2007

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.