CNN International just aired a press conference with Bush and King Abdullah of Jordan. Most of the statements were platitudes and made no new headway, but there’s one thing that I did notice that I hadn’t remarked before. Both Bush adn the reporters insisted on calling Abu Mazen “President Abbas.” Bush also insisted on saying that a Palestinian state couldn’t “look like Swiss cheese.” This is the second time I’ve heard this remark from him. If it’s not disingenuous, it’s an important caveat to the idea of a two-state solution and has a folksy charm that’s much more specific than the adjective “viable” that’s often used to describe a future Palestinian state.
Otherwise, the American University of Beirut was full of students wearing black and white Palestinian keffiyehs in support of Gaza today. Interestingly enough, none of the Lebanese students I spoke with seemed to think that their support for their neighbors should extend to the Palestinians who were killed (around 50) or displaced (over 30,000) last year in Nahr el-Bared. They told me that the government had the right to go in and destroy the camp in order to root out the terrorists. When I asked them what the difference was between that and when Israelis use almost identical rhetoric, they insisted that the two situations had nothing in common. One student insisted that Palestinians didn’t deserve any rights in Lebanon.
As usual, Lebanese solidarity with Palestinians seems to be more about opposing Israel than supporting Palestinians. Ya haram.