Secretary of State Rice met with Palestinian leader, President Abbas and assured him that Bush believes the establishment of a Palestinian state is ‘one of the highest priorities of his administration.” She told Abbas, “Finally, it’s time for a Palestinian state.” During the past several weeks, President Abbas has made clear he considers creating an agenda with specific goals to be attained within a “certain time period” is crucial if the upcoming Annapolis conference is to be successful. As of this point, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel has not indicated any interest in such specific outcomes.
George Bush assumed the presidency just at the Clinton mediation effort between Palestinians and Israel had reached a deadlock. Instead of building on Clinton’s work, Bush discounted what the former president had accomplished and refused to have anything to do with Palestine-Israel peace efforts. Instead, he focused on Iraq and war. We are living in the aftermath of Bush’s incompetency and it is rather ironic he finally has gotten back to a task that should have been handled six years ago.