"All Those Old Issues": George W. Bush and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Despite an array of formulas for peace put forth during his administration, President Bush and his policy-making team have been almost totally uninterested in involving the United States in any serious effort to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The quick demise of all peace initiatives—each of which succumbed to the administration’s focus on terrorism rather than on Israel’s occupation as the root of the conflict—is testimony to the Bush team’s near total identification with Israel’s interests. This article examines the Bush administration’s bias toward Israel and the factors influencing that approach: Bush’s own willful ignorance of the situation on the ground and lack of concern for Palestinian grievances, his apparent personal rapport with Ariel Sharon, and the strong domestic political pressures on him, including from the pro-Israel lobby, Congress, neoconservatives, and the fundamentalist Christian lobby. All these factors combine to make any U.S. pressures on Israel highly unlikely.
Kathleen Christison is the author of Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influence on U.S. Middle East Policy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001) 2nd ed. and The Wound of Dispossession: Telling the Palestinian Story (Santa Fe: Sunlit Hills Press, 2002).