Back Into History

The Middle East crisis is giving Bush a second chance to be a peacemaker

President George W. Bush has always done the Middle East his way. When he became the first President to formally call for the creation of a Palestinian state, it was at least partly because he gagged on such conventional but tortured constructions as "a place for the Palestinian people to carry out their aspirations." When aides drafted a speech with such wording, the President challenged them, demanding, What does that mean? An aide explained that this was how the matter was generally formulated. Bush, a senior Administration official recalls, asked, "Well, do we think there's going to be a Palestinian state?"...

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