If President George Bush is hoping for a hero’s welcome on his first-ever trip to the Middle East, he is going to be disappointed.
A rocket attack from Lebanon into northern Israel could have been a coincidence, or a protest at his presence.
There have been relatively few attacks from Lebanon since the 2006 offensive.
In Jerusalem, one might have expected Israelis to be in favour of a supportive American president, but demonstrators’ placards read: “Bush. Read your Bible. God gave Israel to the Jews!” and “Bush: Founding father of Hamastine.”
Unusually, both Israeli and Palestinian analysts are in agreement, questioning the role of the Bush administration in the Mid-East peace talks.
“The current coalition in Israel is the first one ever
that has a majority, backed in our parliament, to make major concessions on settlements,” said Reuven Hazan, professor of politics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “But in order for Israel to do that, we don’t need the American president to pressure us. What we need is a viable partner on the other side”
Ali Jirbawi, a Palestinian analyst, said: “Most Palestinians are sceptical because we have been into this so many times before. We are not willing to be deceived by words. We are looking at deeds on the ground. “
The slogans on the placards at an anti-Bush demo in Gaza were at least predictable: “Shame on you, Bush,” they read.