A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
November 28, 2007 After Annapolis Confernce Bush on the Iranian Threat
The Annapolis Conference officially ended today with a Rose Garden statement by President Bush. Does anyone believe that the goal of one year to an agreement is realistic? Everyone thinks that they received what they wanted from the conference. Prime Minister Olmert keeps his coalition and satisfies the Americans; the Americans get a great picture and manage to unite the moderate in one place; the Palestinians seem to think that they have made a major accomplishment in that they believe that the negotiations will begin where Camp David left off. That was always the fear.
The word from the Palestinian side is simple: Chairman Abbas cannot make any concessions, he brought the Arab world and the possible promise of normalization with the Arab world, but that is the most he can do. It is so hard to see where we can go from here.
Israeli observers believe that the only one who thinks an agreement can be reached in a year is Secretary of State Rice. Israel Channel 10 analyst Avi Druker criticized her by saying that her view of the conflict was way too simple. Rice sees it through the lens of her upbringing in the south in the 1950’s: if the Palestinians are given a state, the problem can be solved. While I think Drucker is terribly condescending in his views, Rice was the National Security Advisor when the US invaded Iraq.
I just watched Wolfe Blitzer interview President Bush about the Annapolis summit. Blitzer asked President Bush about the speech Ahmedinejad gave today denouncing the summit and predicting the end of Israel. Blitzer asked whether Bush takes Ahmedinejad’s speech seriously. Bush answered that if he was an Israeli he would take Ahmedinejad very seriously and believe that destroying Israel was his intention. Bush went on to say that if Iran attacked Israel, the United States would come to Israel’s defense. I do not remember a direct promise by a US President to defend Israel. How many of the current Presidential candidates would say that?
When asked if he has anything to say to the Israeli people who might be concerned that the US might pressure Israel, Bush stated– “The vision of a peace agreement is just that a vision- the implementation can only happen with a road map.” Bush added: “we would never expect Israel to give up territory to terrorists.”
The Ministry of Educational released a stunning report today on the results of the national standardized tests. The math test showed a drop from 76% passing to 61% this year. In the Arab sector it was 45%. Test results went down in English and Science as well. The test was changed this year, and was supposed to be easier. It is possible that the drop was a result of a mistake in test design. Unfortunately, the result seems to correlate with other less quantitative knowledge of what has been going on in Israeli schools. 40 members of Knesset have signed a petition calling for the Minister of Education to resign due to the ongoing teacher strike. It will take much more than a new Minster of Education to fix what ails the Israeli school system.