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Commentary Last Updated: Jan 19th, 2007 - 01:29:42

Condi�s Middle East junket; a new dose of cynicism
By Mike Whitney
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 19, 2007, 01:23

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Condoleezza Rice has used her trip through the Middle East to announce her intention to "accelerate the road map and move to the establishment of a Palestinian state". (NY Times) She plans to convene a summit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert so that "informal talks" can be held on the main issues related to a permanent settlement.

Why? Why this sudden interest on Rice�s part in Palestinian statehood?

As Rice said on Monday, "Before we say this is going to end in frustration, let�s be glad that after six years that the parties want to engage in an informal set of discussions about the future between them."

"Be glad"?

The administration has shown no interest in resuming peace talks for six years, the entire length of the Bush presidency. The only reason Rice is calling for negotiations now is because the US needs the support of the regional (Sunni) allies for Bush�s new strategy to quell the violence in Baghdad. That�s why Rice met with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the other Gulf states, to garner their support for the "New Way Forward" (aka: "the surge").

The administration has no interest in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It�s a cynical attempt to manipulate Arab public opinion. The administration helped to enforce the Israeli boycott of food, water and medical supplies to Gaza, and they have stopped other donor-states from providing humanitarian relief. They refused to endorse the UN resolutions that condemned the Israeli bombing of the main power station in Gaza (which cut off electrical power to over 1 million Palestinians), or the targeted assassinations which repeatedly kill innocent bystanders, or the wanton murder of 18 members of the same family who were asleep in their home in Beit Hanoun.

The administration has also refused to accept the results of the Palestinian elections -- which overwhelmingly supported the new Hamas parliament -- even though Bush has repeatedly stated that his primary goal is to bring "democracy" to the Middle East. Instead, Bush has given $18 million to train militants in Jordan (who are members of the rival Palestinian group, Fatah), so they can return to the occupied territories and initiate hostilities against the elected Hamas government. This is being conducted under the supervision of the US intelligence agencies and with the complete knowledge and cooperation of Israeli-puppet Mahmoud Abbas.

The message is clear: If elections do not produce the results that please Washington and Tel Aviv, expect to face "regime change" through force.

While Palestinian children were being shot in the head by Israeli snipers in Gaza, Rice was crowing about "birth pangs" for a "New Middle East". And, when an entire family was blown to bits while picnicking on a beach in Gaza, Rice was proclaiming Israel�s "right to defend itself."

And, now she wants peace?

Rice is no friend of the Palestinians nor is anyone in the Bush administration. It would be better to starve to death in the dark than to accept the peace of oppressors.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at:

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