About President Bush's speech laying out American hopes and dreams for a Palestinian state…

The president's message to the Palestinians was essentially this: If you behave, you get your state. If you don't, you don't.

The president is kind of like the guy who says to the kids, "You can have the keys to the car if you wash the car, get a job to pay for the gas, and get a haircut so you don't look like someone the cops will want to pull over."

Will it work? It would probably work with the kids.

Will it work with the Palestinians? Probably some of them, but not all, and certainly not Hamas.

Bush's speech recognizes that reality. We know Hamas isn't going to behave, and if they go on blowing up their own teenagers as well as the Israelis, then the U.S. can hold back — and credibly hold back — on any recognition of a Palestinian state.

If the Palestinian Authority, under some kind of hard-headed new leadership, decides to make Hamas a jailhouse-based organization instead of a Gaza-based organization... then bingo — success, and the state plan can go forward towards democracy and free economy rather than just stopping terror.

So the way Bush has this arranged, if those things happen and the Palestinians become a society of worker bees instead of a society of bomber bees, then great. Win-win.

If they go on being bombers and they don't care about democracy, and economic development, and if their corrupt political leadership continues to operate a bomb-yourself-to-paradise propaganda machine... then he can say, "Well, you failed. So sad, too bad."

In other words, Bush has put the onus on Palestinian leadership to grow up, and quit fighting a war that will only decimate Palestinian society and Palestinian families.

Now quietly... it would be a darn good idea for Bush to put some pressure on the Israelis too.

The settlement issue is a hot subject inside the Israeli democracy, and what Israeli voters decide is what they will have to live with.

But if they keep deciding to do the very thing that so inflames the Palestinians, then it's going to be very difficult for any outside force — Bush or whomever — to help.

That is a point Israeli society is going to have to grapple with, and we wish them luck.

That's My Word.

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