Trump should adopt Bush strategy to encourage Israel to negotiate

December 4, 2017 by David Singer
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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…writes David Singer.

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.  Publicly 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:

“The Government of Israel, today (Sunday), 25.5.03, considered the Prime Minister’s statement on the Roadmap, as well as Israel’s comments on its implementation. Following its deliberations, the Government, by a majority vote, resolved:

Based on the 23 May 2003 statement of the United States Government, in which the United States committed to fully and seriously address Israel’s comments to the Roadmap during the implementation phase, the Prime Minister announced on 23 May 2003 that Israel has agreed to accept the steps set out in the Roadmap.

The Government of Israel affirms the Prime Minister’s announcement, and resolves that all of Israel’s comments, as addressed in the Administration’s statement, will be implemented in full during the implementation phase of the Roadmap.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice had given the following assurances to Israel from the lawns of the White House on 23 May 2003:

The roadmap was presented to the Government of Israel with a request from the President that it respond with contributions to this document to advance true peace. The United States Government received a response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap. The United States shares the view of the Government of Israel that these are real concerns and will address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap to fulfil the President’s vision of June 24, 2002.

This astute and finely crafted process paid off handsomely – with Israel being sufficiently encouraged by Bush’s assurances to agree to enter into negotiations based on Bush’s Roadmap.

The success of Trump’s ultimate deal could depend on Trump rejecting the Reagan approach and adopting the Bush strategy.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


2 Responses to “Trump should adopt Bush strategy to encourage Israel to negotiate”
  1. Erica Edelman says:

    Here’s the thing David. And far be it from me to argue
    Or disagree with you but …
    Strategy’s are great if they include solutions and ideas
    About how to get “the Arab” to accept “The Jewish person”
    To date no financial, geographical, physical, social or
    Cultural strategy has worked. Strategies work when they recognize
    and include and admit to the REAL reasons they don’t work.
    Antisemitism, Jew-hatred, Israel-hatred and a desire to re-instate a
    For the displaced Jewish ppl from long ago are the road-blocks to peace
    in the region.
    Nothing more than that.
    Bush and Reagan never spoke of these things
    Trump may work because he’s not going to give
    Israel’s enemies a CHOICE!
    Trump doesn’t like giving anyone CHOICES
    He’s a GET IT DONE kind of President – with only
    ONE way to get it done
    Watch what happens in Jerusalem !
    The UN won’t be GIVEN a CHOICE
    The enemy Arab states and territories won’t be given
    NOW that’s the best strategy and the best way
    To obtaining quiet in the region

    • david singer says:


      President Trump believes he can do a deal to end the conflict. He can try and bash heads but I do not think it will work.

      He needs to be far more subtle in his approach especially where Israel is concerned.

      Reagan tried to crash and break through with no success.

      Bush was far more measured and at least got Israel and the PLO to sit down and negotiate. That those negotiations failed can be sheeted home to a great degree to the tactics employed by Obama, Hillary Clinton and Kerry.

      Trump has plenty of evidence to demonstrate how America has failed to end 100 years of conflict between Arabs and Jews despite the best-intentioned efforts of his predecessors.

      “Doing a Bush” is one way Trump can get Israel to the negotiating table.

      There may be other ways – but none that I can really point to after reviewing the history of previous negotiations. Please enlighten me if you have a better proposal.

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