President Bush may declare as early as this week an end to the Iraq war, but he appears ready to press ahead with the "road map" to establish a Palestinian state that can only jeopardize the continued existence of Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says the road map - drafted last year by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - will be published once the new Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, is confirmed by the Palestinian cabinet.
This is sham Middle East theater. Having gained so many concessions from Israelis without living up to a single agreement they have signed, Palestinian leaders are not about to rescind their political-religious objective of eliminating Israel as a state and the Jewish presence in the region. The administration is as anxious to declare victory in the maddening Middle East conflict as the Nixon administration was to end the Vietnam War. Thirty years ago, President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger trumpeted "peace with honor" following talks with North Vietnamese leaders in Paris. South Vietnam soon fell to the Communists, who had never abandoned their vision of one country under their dictatorial control. Israel could easily become like South Vietnam - overrun by its enemy - if the "road map" is implemented.
Among the road map's many problems is that it fails to fulfill President Bush's own conditions. In a speech last June, the president said the United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a "sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure." That is unlikely to happen since terrorism has been the official policy of Yasser Arafat and his bloody band of brothers for more than 30 years. The faux "democracy" that Abbas supposedly represents is about as credible as one of Saddam Hussein's near-unanimous elections.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said there can be no lasting peace in Northern Ireland until the Irish Republican Army destroys its hidden weapons, renounces violence and commits to a political process. He is right about that, but wrong when he and President Bush want to push ahead with their Middle East road map without making similar demands of the Palestinian leaders.