Lack of Leadership from Arab World slows Peace

President Bush held another one of those "we love each other" press conferences, this time with Jordan’s King Abdullah. The king best fits the image of what President Bush hopes for in an Arab leader. President Bush got exactly what he desires.

While President Bush didn’t miss an opportunity during the brief press conference to blame everything on Palestinian President Yasir Arafat and on the Palestinians, King Abdullah played the role of the typical Arab leader who was guarded prefers to keep his opinions to himself.

I and I am sure millions of other Arabs and Palestinians wish that King Abdullah would just open up one time with his real feelings.

President Bush and King Abdullah were beginning discussions on how to revive the "Road Map" which was intended to help Palestinians and Israelis return to the peace negotiations and end the current violence.

Instead, the Road Map has turned out to be little more than a reflection of Israel’s brutal, one-sided oppressive policies, ripping apart peace just as surely as Israeli forces are ripping apart real Palestinian roads.

Hopefully, when they met in private, King Abdullah gave President Bush a piece of his mind and a lecture of his own. No one deserves to be lectured more than President Bush who is being held political hostage to Israel’s powerful lobby.

Personally, I don’t understand how King Abdullah can hold his tongue and not speak out or respond to some of the ridiculous lies that came from President Bush during their brief encounter.

For example, Bush repeated his ridiculous assertions that Arafat is singularly responsible for the demise of the Road Map and for the violence. No one else. It’s "only" the Palestinians who are using terrorism and violence.

Imagine. Arafat is held hostage in a nearly destroyed bunker in Ramallah surrounded by Israeli tanks, helicopters, jets and an enormous Israeli force. Yet, he is able to direct an Intidafa. The mighty Israeli army which has defeated every army it has faced on the battlefield, can’t seem to prevent terrorism, but Arafat, with no assets, freedom of movement or administrative support, can?

The Bush logic makes no sense, and merely follows the pro-Israel propaganda line crafted by Ariel Sharon who is not the first Israeli prime minister haunted by accusations of mass murder, genocide and past atrocities. Sharon led the fearsome "Unit 101," an Israeli military unit involved in the murder of hundreds of Palestinian civilian women and children.

Still, King Abdullah bit his tongue and offered nothing more but a few words of kindness, greetings and respect.

Even if King Abdullah doesn’t particularly like Arafat, who despite the attacks continues to enjoy unanimous support from Palestinians and Arabs alike, you might think the monarch would insist that part of the blame be placed on Israel where it belongs.

King Abdullah might have noted it was Sharon who, after a cease-fire was negotiated with Hamas, assassinated several key Hamas leaders thus provoking Hamas to retaliate with suicide bombings against Israeli targets?

Why didn’t King Abdullah correct President Bush and point out Sharon’s government continues to build Israeli settlements in violation of peace? (The term "illegal settlement" is redundant since every Israeli settlement, including those choking Jerusalem, are illegal, too.)

Couldn’t King Abdullah demand Israel withdraw its forces out of the Palestinian cities so the Palestinian civilians can breath for the first time in a decade of oppressive occupation? Or maybe the King could have also demanded that Israel stop intentionally provoking the Palestinians?

Maybe King Abdullah might have said something about the Apartheid Wall that Israel is building, not on Israeli land but on newly confiscated (translate that as "stolen") Palestinian lands?

Could King Abdullah have educated his good friend President Bush about Sharon’s true, vicious nature? If Arafat is a terrorist, is not Sharon worse? Sharon doesn’t want peace based on compromise, but rather a peace based on the destruction of Palestine.

Hopefully, those are a few of the things that King Abdullah did tell President Bush when they met afterwards in private away from the media and the cameras and the eyes of a wanting public.

Let’s hope he did, anyway.