Palestinian refugees can go to Palestine when the new state is created, he said; Israel is a Jewish state. The major Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are facts on the ground and cannot be wished away. The separation barrier Israel is building between its population centers and those of the Palestinians is OK, as long as it’s not forever.

And by the way, Bush added, Sharon — the Israeli whom Palestinians love to hate more than any other — is a bold and capable leader, one whose courage they should emulate.

If it wasn’t the Palestinian leadership’s worst nightmare, it was pretty close.

It is great to see such a firm statement of support by Bush, whose administration has a tendency of expressing their “disapproval” whenever Israel takes out terrorists. (Other than the fact that Israel should not be a secular, not a religious or ethnic state.) The PLO, meanwhile demonstrates its dependence on threatened and actual terrorism for its very existence:

After a morning meeting in Ramallah, they condemned Sharon’s proposal to withdraw all Jewish settlements and some military installations from the Gaza Strip as an attempt to turn Gaza into “a big prison.”

They also threatened to cancel all their “commitments in the signed accords,” an apparent reference to Bush’s internationally-endorsed “road map” to Mideast peace, in which they committed to repress terrorist organizations and stop incitement against Israel.

While “a big prison” may be just what is needed, Israel’s current move is an attempt de-engage the Palestinians. Since the PLO’s political and economic power is firmly tied to inciting terrorism against Israel, a successful isolation would spell the end of their dictatorship. Fortunately for them, a wall is not sufficient to stop terrorists – and fortunately for Israel, Sharon is well aware of that.