Thursday, June 13, 2002
President Bush indicated today in a meeting with the Saudi foreign minister that he had made up his mind to announce a plan to support the creation of a Palestinian state in order to give some immediate hope to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, officials familiar with the talks said....
Mr. Bush did not spell out all the details of his plan in the 20-minute meeting with the Saudi minister, but the discussions included such matters as how to refer to the borders of a Palestinian state in any declaration, how to set a time line for negotiations and how to arrange the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank so that Palestinian institutions can be rebuilt and reformed....
"The impression was that he was very committed to the declaration of an independent Palestinian state," said one official familiar with the discussions, "and that it ought to take place within a certain time line and framework so that it would be responsible to give Israel a sense of peace and security, and that Israel would get that same peace and security with all of the Arab world."
Apparently, a lot has changed since last week, when Bush declined to propose a timetable toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.
President Bush said Saturday he was not ready to propose a timetable toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.
"We're not ready to lay down a specific calendar, except for the fact that we've got to get started quickly, soon, so that we can seize the moment," Bush said at a joint news conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after they held talks at the presidential retreat.
Critics often cited Clinton's habit of sounding a lot like whoever he had last spoken with as evidence of the absence of strong principles. To what shall we chalk up Bush's habit of doing the same thing?