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Bush should hold off on Mideast peace talks

Feb. 14, 2001

Since the election of a new prime minister in Israel, President George W. Bush announced that he would hold off engaging in Israeli-Palestinian relations until newly elected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has a chance to get his administration in place. This is a wise move on Bush's part and we applaud him for it.

Despite the daily violence that continues in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians, attempting to jump into peace talks before Sharon's administration is fully intact and has had time to settle into the job of governing would probably not be very productive. When the Israelis come to the table once again to try and broker peace, the leaders should be free of the burdensome and annoying hassles associated with changing administrations.

Sharon, a member of the Likud Party, and members of the defeated Labor Party, are also currently working to form a coalition government, which will certainly take some time.

Bush's administration is not even a month old, and delaying its involvement in the peace process until the administration can learn more about the Israel-Palestine situation after the election and craft its strategy to deal with the on-going violence will make future talks more beneficial than they would be today.

Sharon must also have time to prepare his budget and present it to the Israeli parliament. Under Israeli law, if the newly elected prime minister and Parliament do not prepare a budget by March 31, then new elections are ordered for both.

Peace in the Middle East should be a major priority of Bush's administration, but before he can begin talks, we must patiently allow for both Bush's and Sharon's administrations to take hold.

If we want peace to last, it must not be rushed or hastily dealt with. We must take future peace talks slowly and cautiously. Bush's announcement that he will temporarily hold off on discussions with Palestine and Israel to give Sharon time to get his administration together shows he understands this.