In a video statement today, President Bush seemingly condoned Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza, saying, “Israel has obviously decided to protect herself and her people.” Minutes later, in the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Dana Perino suggested that the war would help create “a more stable and secure” life for the people of Gaza:
PERINO: We understand the need to try to create a more stable and secure area for themselves and also for the Palestinian people, who have been held hostage by Hamas in Gaza since the summer of 2007. And we urge them to be very cautious when it comes to civilian casualties. We want to keep them to an absolute minimum.
Seconds after claiming Hamas has held Gaza citizens hostage, however, Perino seemed to acknowledge that Hamas had in fact been elected: “They won because the Palestinians, the people of Gaza, were frustrated with the services they were getting from the Fatah party, which was a wake-up call for the Fatah party as well,” Perino said.
The idea that the current war — which has so far resulted in the deaths of over 500 Palestinians — is somehow good for the people of Gaza is being echoed around the White House and the right wing. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack explained today that the Bush administration opposed an immediate cease fire because stopping the killing now would somehow not be to the “best benefit” of the Palestinian people:
MCCORMACK: You’re trading off against lives in the future that would be lost if you don’t go for a durable, sustainable cease-fire. We’re not willing to do that. … You have to take the set of decisions that you believe will ultimately best benefit the people of the region, whether it’s the Palestinians or the Israelis.
On Fox News Sunday yesterday, Bill Kristol claimed that war was the best way toward peace: “If you care about ultimately peace in the Middle East, this is the best thing that could happen.”
Matt Duss parses John Bolton’s bizarre argument to simply give the Palestinian territories to Egypt and Jordan: “We often hear that Hamas and other extremist groups must ‘recognize Israel’s right to exist,’…but apparently Bolton doesn’t believe that Palestine is entitled to this right.”