] Informed of Palestinians' reaction, Sharon was quoted by
] two well-informed Israeli columnists covering his White
] House visit as saying: "They have a better understanding
] of the significance of (Bush's) letter than most
] Israelis. I said that we were going to deal them a lethal
] blow, and they were dealt a lethal blow."
] Over decades of Republican and Democratic
] administrations, the United States had officially viewed
] Israeli settlements implanted since the occupation of the
] West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Middle East war as an
] obstacle to peace.
[ For better or worse, Bush picked sides yesterday, and the U.S. may well be stuck with that choice. In some ways, it's not a big change, since I think lots of people saw the official non-commitment as a facade anyway, covering the US' support for Israeli interests.
Still though, this isn't gonna foster peace, no matter what Bush said in his letter to Sharon. This is going to piss of a whole bunch of palestinians and might reinforce the impression that the US is anti-arab, which can't be good.
The cynic in me thinks this just might be politically oportunistic - drumming up support from some in the Jewish communities as other numbers dwindle.
Anyway, John Kerry has, perhaps surprisingly, kinda sorta supported the prez on this one, so it's not likely to be a campaign issue, though it may impact the numbers if palestinians respond violently.
Obviously things are complex over there, but this is a mildly surprising commitment considering our traditional handling of the situation.
p.s. for those not reading the story, the EU has said they won't recognize any border not agreed upon by both sides, and the UN has spoken against the decision, so the world stage, which we've spent plenty of time ignoring already, isn't behind us.
Palestinians Urge World to Challenge Bush Policy