President Bush left Israel asking leaders of both sides to pursue their quest for peace. The unanswered question is did his visit aid or damage this desire for peace? The president supported two of Israel’s main goals– maintain their West Bank settlements, and not be compelled to accept the return of Paestinian refugees. He urged President Abbas to ensure that violence ceaces in the region and cooperation continues with Israel. Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, whose group has not been allowed to participate in negotiations, attacked the President for uppoting the two main Israel goals while only offering Palestinians “more illusions.”
Bush, as usual, uttered words of peace, but the issue is not his words, but deeds. Israel leaders are certainly pleased with his support of their political objectives, but Palestinians are left with nothing to show for participating in peace talks. What exactly does President Abbas have to say to his supporters about Bush’s comments? On one hand, President Bush urges Israel to end the occupation, but, on the other hand, he supports the presence of West Bank settlements which are a product of the occupation. President Abbas has been left with little to show for engaging in peace talks other than providing Bush plenty of photo ops.