In his final State of the Union address on Monday, US President George W. Bush insisted that the time had come to bring the Israeli-Arab conflict to an end, and reiterated his determination to oversee a final status peace agreement before the end of his second term a year from now.
Mr. Bush asserted that all the necessary elements are in place for a viable and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
On the Palestinian side, the president pointed out that Mahmoud Abbas, a leader the international community views as moderate and pragmatic, had been overwhelmingly elected to head the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Bush sidestepped the fact that the Palestinians had also overwhelmingly voted the violently anti-Israel Hamas terrorist organization into power in 2006 parliamentary elections.
On the Israeli side, the American leader claimed there was today a firm and uncontested understanding that a sovereign Palestinian Arab state would be the basis for long-lasting peace and security for the Jewish state.
However, Mr. Bush's statement contradicted the assessments of many of Israel's leading political, military and security experts, who warn that a sovereign Palestinian Arab state ruled by the current Palestinian leadership will significantly increase the security threat to Israelis.