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Israel-Palestine Conflict: The Bush Years Vs. The Clinton Years

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Last year, I wrote a satirical post about George Bush's farewell address. (You can read it here.) The gist of it, though, was that I thought maybe the United States will be going into Iran with military force before the January 20, 2009 inauguration.

With news that Iranian hardliners are registering volunteers to come to the aid of Palestinians in Gaza, it seems all the more likely that my prediction, though laughable at the time, is that much closer to becoming a sad reality.

What's more interesting (or tragic, depending on your point of view) is the state of affairs in Israel and Palestine in the waning days of Bush's "presidency." I'm sure a lot of you will remember that in the final days of the Clinton administration's hold in 2001, Yasser Arafat came to Washington to discuss ways to come back to peace. By all accounts, the Isreali's were happy to come to the table and talk. In contrast, a war has exploded in Gaza in the final 3 weeks of the Bush administration and I think it's not a coincidence that the actions of other countries mirror the tenor and actions of the powers in Washington.

Israel and Palestine knew beforehand that they needed to broker a peace in the last days of the Clinton administration because they had sized Bush up and knew what was coming. That would be their last chance for eight years to take meaningful strides in the peace process because that was what was expected of them during the Clinton years.

Now, this is the last chance for war before a new administration sweeps into office in a few weeks. They've sized up Obama and I think they know this is probably their last chance for violence before it's no longer the fashionable way to do things in Washington.

The best we can hope for, I suppose, is that Bush doesn't use his farewell address to launch some kind of desperate strike to keep the Middle East in crisis.

It's just too bad that Clinton couldn't launch peace in his final days as easy as Bush can launch missiles.

(Bryan Young is the producer of Killer at Large.)

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