Outstanding column by George Will today that should not be missed in the frenzy surrounding the Rantisi strike. Will recognizes that Bush’s support of Sharon’s plan is simply an accurate reading of UN Resolution 242 that recognized the right of every state in the region to “secure and recognized boundaries,” which Israel’s 1967 borders were not:
Palestinian spokesmen, denouncing the new U.S. position, speak not of the 1949 armistice lines but “the 1967 borders.” It is not in the interest of the Palestinian Authority to have the world reminded — being willfully forgetful, it needs much reminding — that Israel’s 1967 borders were accidents of the military facts on the ground 18 years before that.
Bush, by emphasizing 1949 rather than 1967, reminds those who forever say “Israel is being provocative” that for 56 years — since Israel’s founding in May 1948 — the problem has been that, to Israel’s enemies, Israel’s being is provocative. Hostility to Israel predated 1967 and would not be cured by a return to 1967 realities.
Will also makes a point emphasized in last week’s HR communique:
Wednesday’s policy flowed ineluctably from Bush’s June 24, 2002, pronouncement that the first prerequisite for progress is for the Palestinian people to produce “regime change”: “I call upon the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror.” That prerequisite being unattainable, Sharon has chosen unilateral disengagement — the fence — and a long wait for the time when, in Bush’s words, “the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements.”
Read the whole article (req. reg.), and send it on to your local editor as an important articulation of the historical facts.