By Naguib mahfouz
President Bush's recent show of unmitigated support for Israel has tarnished US credibility in the Middle East. No one will be able to perceive the US as an unbiased peace broker in the future.
When the US began sponsoring talks between the Arabs and Israelis, with Egypt and Israel signing a peace treaty that paved the way for others to follow, Washington was seen as a sincere mediator. Now that Bush has so utterly identified himself with Sharon's policy peace efforts are in for a bumpy ride.
The US has misplaced its bet. Sharon is pursuing a shameless policy of brutality and murder, one many Israelis find repugnant. The US is in breach of international law when it ignores all UN resolutions on the conflict. UN Security Council Resolution 242, for example, calls on Israel to return to the 1967 borders, to cede land it now intends to annex.
By saying it is "unrealistic" to go back to the 1967 borders, President Bush is creating an international precedent that can impact on other areas of dispute worldwide. International legitimacy is something world leaders need to consolidate, not undermine. When the US decided to go to war in Iraq despite the strong opposition of the international community, things turned ugly. Is it not time we learned from past mistakes?
Based on an interview by Mohamed Salmawy.