I won’t pretend to be an expert on the Middle East, but as someone who has studied world history and politics, I can tell you (as if you didn’t already know) that the people of that region have suffered from violence and territorial disputes for thousands of years. In modern times, leaders from around the world have stepped in to negotiate truces between warring parties in order to maintain some sense of global peace. Which is why headlines like this are shameful:
“Bush Refuses To Interrupt His Final Vacation As Middle East Crisis Escalates”
Not exactly surprising, but shameful nonetheless. As ABC News Reports:
Even an emerging crisis in the Middle East, one he pledged to resolve just 13 months ago, has not drawn President George W. Bush from his final vacation before leaving office. Despite his personal pledge at Annapolis last year to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians before 2009, this weekend Bush sent his spokesmen to comment in his stead….
Since departing Washington for Crawford on Friday, President Bush has made no attempt to be seen in public. In fact, he has yet to leave his ranch.
The disagreements in the Gaza region will never be solved through violence. The Israelis, fed up with rockets periodically lobbed at them from Hammas in the Gaza Strip decide that they will stop them once and for all. But war does not work that way. The Israeli bombs don’t discern between civilians and soldiers. And in the end, the growing numbers of Palestinian civilians killed will do nothing more than create more anger among the Arab nations, and more animosity toward Israel. From The Washington Post:
Concerns mounted over the growing toll on civilians in the Gaza Strip as Israeli jets carried out airstrikes for the third straight day. Many of the casualties have been civilians who live around targets in the densely populated strip. The United Nations on Monday said at least 57 Palestinian civilians have been killed since the Israeli offensive began Saturday, based on visits to hospitals and medical facilities. Officials described that number as conservative.
In total, over three days, 364 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more wounded, said Gaza medical officials, in the deadliest wave of attacks in Gaza since Israel captured control of the seaside territory from Egypt in 1967. Hamas has retaliated, firing a barrage of rockets into southern Israel that has killed four Israelis.
Today, in a press briefing delivered from the “Western White House” in Crawford, TX, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe was asked what is on Bush’s schedule today. In addition to receiving “updates on the ongoing situation,” Johndroe said, “I expect he’ll probably ride his bicycle today and spend time with Mrs. Bush.”