Monday, April 19, 2004

hearts and minds 

The rift between the Bush administration and its moderate Arab allies over Bush's statement on Israeli settlements is one of the worst to emerge in years — and has exacerbated the already tense relations between the United States and Arab countries over the war in Iraq.

Arab leaders have accused the administration of essentially taking away from the Palestinians their primary negotiating levers in any final peace deal — the disputes over whether Israel must remove all settlements from the West Bank, and whether Israel must allow back some Palestinian refugees.

Bush embraced Israeli rejection of any "right of return" for Palestinian refugees after his meeting with Sharon. Tensions also were inflamed in the Arab world by an Israeli helicopter strike that killed the Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi.

Nothing like making people choose sides, but just like the Iraq army, I wonder what side they will ultimately choose.

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