The Israeli government and its lobbyists will tell us that out of all the preceding Presidents, Bush has been the best friend to Israel. This means he gave Israel money and weapons, turned a blind eye to the so-called Targeted Killings, all while condemning any aggressive action coming from the Palestinians’ side by using the key word of the day, Terrorism.
But what has Bush really achieved in Israel and Palestine? Empty calls for Democracy were mixed with suppression of Palestinian hopes for a viable State. Just add the missing ingredient—inadequate oversight over funds and the ensuing Fatah corruption—and you get the perfect recipe for the rise of Hamas. Rockets from Gaza to Israeli towns continue. Palestinian laborers are denied entry into Israeli territory, which means growing unemployment and desperation for Palestinians and the opening of immigration gates in Israel to illegal workers, who are brought in and kicked out on the basis of cheap-labor supply and demand.
So what has Israel gained from Bush’s friendship? Illegal immigration has given rise to a new frustrated underclass, a battlefield of gangs in Gaza could restart at any time, more rockets, the descent of moderate Palestinians, and the rise of those vowing for struggle. And a big, ugly wall.
A Democratic candidate cannot hide his or her inaction behind slogans like Friendship and Special Relationship. A true friend of Israel will not see Palestinian action and Israeli reaction but a cycle of violence that must be stopped. A true friend will see that half of the Israeli population struggles for peace and that the Jewish vote will follow a strong candidate who will have the chutzpah to say, “The world is tired of inaction. The world is tired of ‘facts on the ground’ settlements, roads, and trains that run through East Jerusalem and cut at the heart of Palestinian hope and Israeli prosperity, the world is tired of people in Israel being afraid to board buses in Tel Aviv and leave for work in Sderot. The world is tired of the word Terrorist.”
The time has come for a true friend of Israel to say, "Mr. Olmert, tear down this wall."