President Bush's strategy to secure Israel's agreement to negotiate under the Bush Roadmap should be given serious consideration by President Trump as he puts together his eagerly-anticipated "ultimate deal" to end the Arab-Jewish conflict.
Bush's strategy involved him firstly stating his "vision" before actually announcing the Bush Roadmap to turn that vision into reality.
Israel was required to make concrete territorial withdrawals from Judea and Samaria (West Bank) – possibly compromising Israel's security in the process. Publically confronting Israel with the Bush Roadmap first up could have seen its outright rejection by Israel before the ink was even dry.
President Reagan had succeeded in doing just that when announcing his peace plan on 1 September 1982. Reagan's plan was unanimously rejected out of hand by Israel's cabinet the very next day – whilst America pleaded with Jordan to accept it over the next twelve months as a means of putting pressure on Israel to cave in and negotiate. King Hussein of Jordan did not take the bait. The Reagan plan was dead in the water.
Bush was savvy enough to not repeat Reagan's mistake.
Bush first enunciated his "vision" in a speech on 24 June 2002:
- Two states, living side by side in peace and security.
- The Palestinian people electing new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror, building a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty.
A draft version of the Bush Roadmap dated 15 October 2002 was "provided" to the New York Times and published on 14 November 2002.
After talks on 31 March 2003 at the White House with President Bush, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom announced that Israel was:
adopting the vision of President Bush, and anything that will be a genuine, accurate reflection of this vision will be something that we will be able to work with.
Bush's Roadmap in final form was made public on 30 April 2003.
Israel's response was markedly different to its response to Reagan's proposal:
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