Globe and Mail: No right of return, Bush tells Palestinian refugees
U.S. President George W. Bush told Palestinian refugees Wednesday that they can forget about ever returning to their ancestral homes.
Leaving Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon beaming at a joint press conference in Washington, Mr. Bush appeared to negate any right of return for Palestinian uprooted from what is now Israel.
Their future lies only in “the establishment of a Palestinian state and the settling of Palestinian refugees there rather than in Israel,” he said.
The U.S. President twice referred to Israel as a Jewish state, alluding to arguments that allowing millions of Palestinian refugees to return there would alter the fundamental character of the country.
The AP/NYT version of the story is somewhat less in-your-face in its assessment of the speech. Clearly, though, the 1948 borders are non-starters at this point.
And this characterization is amusing:
Mr. Bush did not explicitly say that the United States supported Israel’s keeping some of its large settlements on the West Bank Ã¢€” home to about a quarter million Israelis Ã¢€” but he endorsed Mr. Sharon’s unilateral plan to withdraw the few thousand settlers from the Gaza Strip.
What’s “unilateral” about Israel bringing its own people from disputed territories back home? Whose permission was he supposed to get?