The Letter to Bush Obama Didn’t Write

By William A. Cook

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I recently outlined my views on the Middle East in a major speech given the day after I proclaimed that I am without doubt the Democratic nominee for President. I delivered that speech to my primary constituents, the good fellows at AIPAC, on K Street where all the lobbies cluster. I’m writing to you not to reiterate some of the concerns and priorities I raised in that speech, points presented to AIPAC because I was forced to if I am to stay in this race, but rather to tell you what should be done if terrorism against America is to end.
A fundamental principle of America’s Middle East policy must be our unshakeable commitment to Palestinian security. I believe that is a bipartisan commitment, and I will work to continue and advance that consensus. But I am deeply concerned that the security of the people of Palestine has been put at greater risk, both because of renewed threats from their implacable enemy, the State of Israel, and because of policy choices by the United States.
One essential step for ensuring Palestinian security in the long term would be achieving a lasting peace with its occupier, Israel. In the case of Israel, that means it should get out of the land belonging to the Palestinians; how else can a two state solution become a reality? That means as well that all the Squatters (They call them Settlers because it sounds more legitimate, but you know that) must leave Palestinian land. That also means the Israelis must return the water to the Palestinians so they can control their own supplies, not have to buy their own water from the occupiers. We want both sides to achieve their aspirations, but Israeli aspirations should not mean they own all of Palestine; you’ll remember that they were awarded only 55% of Palestine by the UN not 84% which they now occupy by force and edict.
Now I know you’ve initiated a plan for a two state solution that you call the Annapolis Plan for Peace. But, George, you’re letting the fox build the chicken house; that fox has corralled all the chickens into tiny fenced in areas that make it easy to snare them at will, eat ‘em up. That’s not justice, Mr. President, that’s murder. We should find a way to bring true Palestinians and true Israelis together so that they can decide how they wish to live in this tiny place. They used to get along, for centuries, before the Zionists took control.
These peace efforts take place in a difficult environment. Israel, which opposes negotiations and is committed to the destruction of the Palestinians, as members of Olmert’s cabinet have openly proclaimed, continues to rule throughout Palestine. Under their rule a constant barrage of state of the art weapons (Our weapons used illegally against citizens under occupation) has been used against the people of Palestine: missiles have slammed into homes where a mother and her four children were having breakfast, all killed; a family taking a break from the heat at the beach in Gaza, killed by an F-16 missile, 13 killed, innocent children; more than 5000 civilians since 2000, more than our soldiers killed in Iraq; it’s time, Sir, to bring a halt to our support for such behavior.
I know, you’re going to tell me that the Palestinians have been firing rockets into Israel, 5000 of them over the past year. Thank God, they are not comparable to the ones the Israelis use, the $300,000 missiles we supply to them that have what we call precision accuracy. If that is true one wonders why those families I just mentioned are not still alive, but I digress. I believe the Palestinians have killed three Israelis with their home made “rockets,” a tiny testament to their desire to have the occupiers leave their country. I believe we can stop the rockets if we call on Israel to cease its violence against the people it occupies, require Israel to recognize a Palestinian state, the one that will be possible after they leave the land belonging to the Palestinians, and determine to live in harmony with their neighbor not force that neighbor to accept “agreements” imposed by force. Justice demands no less.
You know much better than I that Israel receives funding, training, and weaponry from the United States, that the US has provided them with long range missile capability that can reach not only Iran but Europe, that it’s the only nuclear power in the mid-east and is thus a threat to every nation in that area, and refuses to sign with its neighbors the non-nuclear proliferation agreement that would go a long way toward creating a climate of peace in the mid-east. Why should a nation of 6 million people possess the world’s fourth largest military when the only people it is fighting are the Palestinians who have no military? Doesn’t that suggest that Israel is contemplating greater expansion beyond the Golan heights and the land it occupies owned by Syria and Lebanon? Thank God we have corrected our behavior so that it’s the impoverished and destitute Palestinian people that we protect not those with sufficient wealth that they can care for themselves.     
We must be fair to both sides if real peace is to ensue. First, both the Palestinian people and the Israelis must be able to defend their respective countries from external threats. To accomplish that each must occupy the territory provided to it by the UN partition plan so that there are recognizable and accepted borders that define the states. Second, if the US supports each entity equally, neither can claim that we are partial to the other. That would mean we should not provide 30 billion additional dollars to Israel especially since they are demanding that it be paid in Euros. Third, the US should guarantee that it will support both states if either is threatened by external powers; this action will make unnecessary the continued build up of Israel’s military which drains the US of massive dollars to fight the Palestinians who would be content to live in their own land without a military. Fourth, once two states are established and the Arab nations accept the existence of Israel as the Saudi Prince’s plan for Peace attests would happen if it were accepted, the US would no longer have to write pay-off checks to Egypt’s President Mubarak or to Jordan’s Prince. In short the US would have dollars for use at home not dollars spent for the well-heeled in foreign countries that are paid out to bolster the legitimacy of Israel.
It is also imperative that other Arab countries step forward to give greater support to the Palestinian peace effort. This can take the form of monetary support, but, it should be noted, this cannot happen if their support were restricted to a people enclosed behind a wall that imprisons them, requires acceptance by the Israelis for entrance and exit, has no control over its own airspace or access to the sea, and has lost control through the occupation of its natural resources. In addition, Palestinian land is pock marked with hundreds of squatter cities with highways that connect them to Jerusalem, highways not accessible to the Palestinians on whose land they are built. What nation would support a people living under such conditions? We can’t have it both ways, either we create the real and viable Palestinian state and force Israel to retire to its designated borders or we forget seeking the help of others to support an untenable state of affairs.
I call upon you in the last throes of your Presidency to force Israel to accept immediate consideration of the Saudi Prince’s Plan for Peace, a plan they rejected out of hand. It provides for two states as designed by the UN Partition Plan of 1947, full recognition of Israel by all Arab states, and the cessation of violence by the Palestinians against Israel assuming that Israel ceases its violence against the Palestinians. Nothing could be more equitable. Nothing could be more just. Nothing would do more to bring a renewed respect for the United States throughout the world. This is change, Sir, change for the future. Change for the good. Change for all peoples everywhere.


-William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and author of Tracking Deception: Bush’s Mideast Policy. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

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