Pulse Media


A Gruyère state for Palestinians?

Democracy Now

Bush called for an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. But he did not back down from his endorsement of Israel’s intent to retain large Jewish-only settlement blocs that Palestinians say will make peace impossible. Bush called on Israel to dismantle unauthorized settlement outposts scattered across the West Bank. But he did not criticize Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s declaration that Israel’s pledge to freeze settlement expansion only applies to those settlements that Israel doesn’t intend on keeping. Israel agreed to freeze settlement activity under the U.S.-backed road map but has continued to build in East Jerusalem and its large West Bank settlements. For the first time President Bush called for a compensation fund for Palestinian refugees who lost their homes in 1948. He did not offer details. The value of lost Palestinian land is estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars. President Bush’s visit to the West Bank came after a day of talks in Israel. The Independent of London reports Bush’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “had the flavor of a love-in on a grand scale which transcended mere diplomacy.” In Gaza, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri dismissed Bush’s visit.