Rice said publicly this week that her goal is to wrap up a peace deal by the end of the Bush presidency. But people who have spoken to Bush in recent weeks say he has made it clear that he has no intention of trying to force a peace settlement on the parties. The president's fight against terrorism has given him a sense of kinship with Israel over its need for security, and he remains skeptical that, in the end, the Palestinians will make the compromises necessary for a peace deal.
The mood is dark in the IDF's General Staff ahead of next week's "peace" conference in Annapolis. As one senior officer directly involved in the negotiations with the Palestinians and the Americans said, "As bad as it might look from the outside, the truth is 10 times worse. This is a nightmare. The Americans have never been so hostile."
Within the Arab world, Bush has been seen as fervently pro-Israeli. In 2004, to facilitate Israel's departure from Gaza, Bush gave Sharon letters that conceded key points on settlements and Palestinian refugees to the Israelis, without corresponding concessions for the Palestinians.
It [the draft declaration] also shows that the US firmly backs the Palestinians against Israel.
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