Never in any of Reuters many stories on this issue, have we seen the agency credit Bush for being the first US president to formally call, on June 24, 2002, for a Palestinian state. Yes, remember that? Less time into his presidency than Barack Obama is currently into his presidency, Bush stood with his Secretary of State, his Secretary of Defense, and his National Security Advisor and said:Obama had pledged to address the festering conflict early in his presidency and stay involved, in contrast to his predecessor George W. Bush, who was widely accused of neglecting the issue for most of his tenure. The Obama administration sees peace moves as especially crucial to marshaling Arab support against Iran's influence.
I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.
And when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East..
So, contrary to Reuters assertions -- and selective amnesia -- Bush was actually quite proactive in seeking a resolution to the conflict and an emerging Palestinian state. Indeed, if one reads Bush's words carefully, one will see that whereas his administration proceeded quickly and in good faith along this path, it is very much the Palestinians who, eight years on, with their election of Hamas and embrace of terror, have failed miserably to deliver the goods.With a dedicated effort, this state could rise rapidly, as it comes to terms with Israel, Egypt and Jordan on practical issues, such as security. The final borders, the capital and other aspects of this state's sovereignty will be negotiated between the parties, as part of a final settlement. Arab states have offered their help in this process, and their help is needed.