Bush Asserts Israel’s Right to Defense
Translation: Syria can go pound sand, and Arafat’s boy isn’t fooling anyone
President Bush declined to criticize Israel Monday for its air strike inside Syria, saying Israel "has got a right to defend herself." But Bush also said he had cautioned Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to try to avoid escalating tensions in the region. Bush decried the "needless murder" of 19 people in a suicide attack by a Palestinian militant group in Israel on Saturday that led to the Israeli attack on a suspected terrorist camp in Syria. Bush said that the Palestinian Authority must do more to fight terror and "must use whatever means is necessary .... All parties must assume responsibility."

Bush commented after the new Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qurei, said he hopes to negotiate a quick truce with Israel, but won’t use force against Palestinian militants under any circumstances - despite U.S. demands for a clampdown on armed groups. The president was asked if he could work with a prime minister who would not use force against militants. "We have not changed...the parties need to assume responsibility for their action in order for there to be peace," he replied.

During a White House news conference with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Bush said that he had spoken with Sharon on Sunday. "I made it very clear to the prime minister that...Israel’s got a right to defend herself, that Israel must not feel constrained in terms of defense of the homeland," he said. However, Bush added, "I said that it’s very important all action should avoid escalation creating higher tensions."
Couched in all the diplotalk is the fact that we aren’t going to stop Israel from defending themselves in any manner that we would use ourselves. Expect to hear Paleos and Arabs seethe and whine over the lack of evenhanded (read Carteresque) treatment
Posted by: Frank G 2003-10-06