Bush has “no illusions” on Mideast breakthrough

WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush will try to bolster the faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process on a May 13-18 trip to the Middle East, but the White House said on Monday he is “under no illusions” of a quick breakthrough.

“…upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity…”
—Luke 21:25

It will be Bush’s second visit to Israel and neighboring Arab states since hosting a conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in November where Israeli and Palestinian leaders pledged to try to reach a peace deal before he leaves office in January 2009.

Negotiations between the two sides have since bogged down, deepening skepticism about the chances that Bush will succeed in the quest for Middle East peace after so many of his predecessors failed.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino insisted that Israeli and Palestinian leaders remain committed to the peace effort but acknowledged that “more needs to be done.”

“Moments like when the president is going to go and travel to the region can create opportunity to push this system a little bit further,” she told reporters as she released details of Bush’s itinerary.

“But we’re under no illusions that things are going to happen immediately,” she added. “There’s a lot of deep-seated history that has to be addressed if they’re going to define a state by the end of the year.”

She sought to play down discouraging words from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who said on Saturday after last week’s White House talks that he was uncertain that a peace deal was possible this year. Aides said he came away disappointed from his meetings in Washington.

“The Palestinian people are assured that the president is committed to helping them establish their own state,” Perino said.

NO THREE-WAY TALKS SCHEDULED

Despite that, the chance of significant progress during Bush’s trip may be dimmed by the lack of three-way talks between Bush, Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Bush is scheduled to meet Israeli leaders and address parliament during a visit to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state, the White House said.

He then travels to Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah before going to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he will see Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Once wary of taking a hands-on role in peacemaking, Bush told Abbas, weakened by Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip last year, that Palestinian statehood remained a “high priority.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is going to the region before Bush, who is looking to shape a foreign policy legacy that encompasses more than the unpopular war in Iraq.

But Bush will likely have a hard time squeezing serious concessions from either side as world leaders look increasingly to his successor, to be elected in November.

Since Annapolis, the climate has soured amid Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and violence in and around Gaza, where Hamas cross-border rocket fire has drawn a tough Israeli military response.

Critics had accused Bush, who disdained predecessor Bill Clinton’s failed peace effort at the end of his presidency, of neglecting the Middle East conflict and they say he still has not deployed Washington’s full diplomatic weight.

  1. Norm, 30 April, 2008

    Bush ( is known to be a believer) should know better than to try and separate the land the Lord gave to Israel. I am sure he has been warned by evangelical leaders many times over.

    Israel was called to obediance throughout the Old Testament, and should also not separate the same land in an effort to please man.

    The question: If there are concessions to the Palestinian leaders, how will this play out in Gods judgement of both America and Israel?

  2. Joy B., 30 April, 2008

    Bush is not a Christian. He believes all religions worship the same G-d and thus, all religions lead to G-d.

  3. Lance Gilman, 30 April, 2008

    The Arabs want the WHOLE pie not just a slice.
    Any offering of land for peace is just stupid.
    It has NEVER gained any peace in the past has it?

  4. Lance Gilman, 01 May, 2008

    Joy –

    I think you should be careful to say whether he is a believer or not.

    The bible says in ROMANS 10:9-10,
    “…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”

    Though his theology might be off, for all we know that may just be a politically motivated statement so he does not seem critical of anyone’s religion. Especially Islam where he could insight violence.

    I do not agree with him about all religions praying to a universal God.
    It’s obvious as a student of the Holy Bible that there is a difference.
    We know there is only One God and His only son Jesus is the way to Him.

  5. jen-o, 02 May, 2008

    lance,

    if he does not understand who God is (confusing Him with allah, etc.), and if he does not understand that Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father, then what makes you think that he is a christian??… (these are things that define us as christians)

    becoming a christian is MORE than just saying some words found in romans 10:9,10… our mouths confess what is in our hearts, true enough… but it is very possible to say the words in romans 10:9,10 and NOT get born again!… this is similar to what joel osteen does: joel preaches a feel-good, self-centered, pop-psychology message; and then has people repeat a few “words” at the end of the program, and he claims that the repetition of these “words” gets people born-again… it does NOT!… he might as well be saying “abracadabra”…

    people need an UNDERSTANDING of who Jesus is, why He came, and what He accomplished BEFORE they can ever see their NEED to REPENT (and a message focusing on “self-esteem” does NOT lead one to repentance)… people do NOT repent UNTIL they know WHY they NEED to repent… (and the issue of repentance is ignored in the laodicen churches)… there are MANY MANY people who THINK they are born-again when they are NOT… sadly, that is the legacy of the laodicean church…

    as for bush, by their fruits you will know them… (and clearly, he is not being led by the spirit of God)

    shalom,
    jen-o

  6. Lance Gilman, 02 May, 2008

    I just have a problem with people saying whether someone is saved or not.

    If someone confesses Christ as their savior I think you have to accept that
    for what it is. Just because they don’t act the way you think you would act in a particular situatuion does not mean they are unsaved. They have in fact confessed with their own mouth that Jesus is their savior. That is enough for me. Let God work out the rest.

    If believing in Jesus to take away your sins does not cause you to feel good then you sadly are missing out on possibly the greatest joy ever known.
    You are saying that no one is getting saved at Joel Osteens church. That is completely unfounded. I don’t look to his messages for heavy theological doctrine but, you can’t ever underestimate the power of God’s word to save someone, no matter the situation it is used. It is the living word after all. You don’t know the condition of these peoples hearts that are praying, but God does. And I am certain He hears the cry of His children…If not what hope do any of us have.

    Jesus said even if anyone believed on His name they would be saved.
    Run that through your acid test of works(fruits). I know some Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses whose works far exceed my fruits. Some of them might be saved too. I am born again, and I know it. No matter what. (November 25,1993, KAM 1 Beach Kihei, HI)

    Salvation is of Christ and our belief in Him as being who He claimed to be – the son of God; we’re saved by accepting Him and receiving the free gift of salvation.

    Anything else is legalism which leads to bondage and is far more dangerous in leading people away from the the abundant life Jesus died to give us.

    I think Bush is a president of a free nation and like any politician is under pressure to be politically correct.

    God said He will show mercy to those that show mercy…

  7. jen-o, 03 May, 2008

    lance,

    this is not a case of “showing mercy” or not… you don’t do anybody any favors by allowing them to think that just because they repeated some “magical” words they are saved…

    to clarify: what i AM saying is that no one is getting saved as a result of what joel osteen preaches!… that is NOT an unfounded statement… i could just as easily say that no one is getting saved as a result of what the imams in the mosque preach (and certainly you wouldn’t say that that is unfounded)… what do the two have in common?… NEITHER one preaches that a person MUST REPENT and be baptized, accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, and the ONLY way to the Father… [according to joel’s OWN words, he doesn’t even believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father… and his self-centered, egotistical messages NEVER mention repentance]

    if someone gets saved in joel’s church (or in a mosque), it is IN SPITE OF what joel preaches, NOT BECAUSE OF what joel preaches…

    i’ve listened to MANY of joel’s sermons, he NEVER opens a bible!… and he RARELY even references any scripture (and on those very few occasions when he does reference scripture, you better check it out for yourself because he SO FREQUENTLY MISQUOTES the scripture he references)

    yes, of course, we “feel good” that Jesus has taken away our sins… but that’s NOT what joel’s messages are about… joel NEVER mentions “sin”!… in fact, joel IGNORES the problem of “sin” while teaching people how to IMPROVE themselves (their natural man selves/carnal natures) =:~o

    joel’s messages focus on self-improvement (the bible says that the old man is dead, crucified with Christ)… but joel wants to resurrect that old man and teach folks how to “improve” him, along with teaching folks how to “feel good” about him and his old man/carnal nature… this is not the same thing that you describe at all (when you talk about “feeling good”)

    i DO agree with you that the Word of God is alive and powerful… and that there may be some people who are searching for the Truth that end up finding themselves in joel’s church (though i doubt they will stay there long)… these people who are seeking may temporarily find themselves there, BUT if they get born-again, it will be due to factors other than joel’s “preaching” (for example, they could get born-again by reading the bible on their own, or gain an understanding of the truth by talking to someone one-on-one, etc.)… God is certainly not limited by joel’s messages, and HE can work outside of them… BUT faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God… and since joel does NOT teach the Word of God (but rather teaches people how to live a comfortable life in their sins), then NO one can HEAR the Word of God, and NO one can get born-again via joel’s “preaching”…

    i don’t know how there is any way around this…
    faith comes by hearing the Word…
    joel does NOT preach the Word…
    therefore, since no one hears the Word via joel, faith cannot come…

    i do not think it is “legalistic” to WARN people about folks like joel osteen (and there are many like him) OR to WARN people about these types of watered-down, self-centered messages…

    shalom,
    jen-o

  8. jen-o, 03 May, 2008

    p.s. sorry about all the words with caps… (it looked better on my webtv, which is where i originally posted from)… i was just trying to emphasize a few things (and i wish there was a better way to do it, like using italics)

    peace,
    jen-o

  9. Lance Gilman, 06 May, 2008

    jen-o,

    I’m NOT defending watered down preaching and I know that you understand we NOT saved by works, but by faith in Christ.

    For God is looking for us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth,
    this we know.

    I don’t care what church someone goes to, if in their heart they believe
    there is no other name under heaven by which they are to be saved – then in the words of Jesus they are saved.

    I seriously doubt that any Muslim believes that He is the ONLY way, and thus is not saved. Or the Catholic that worships and esteems Mary or the pope is likely on one of Many roads that lead to destruction along with some Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses, and anyone else that does not worship Christ in Spirit and in Truth. Even the “luke warmers” that are more into “feel good christianity” and the prosperity theology of “name it and claim it” are in danger of hell fire.

    I think of the old song:

    I, I believe in Jesus…
    I believe He is the son of God…
    I believe He died and rose again…
    I believe He paid for us all…

    And I believe that He’s here now…Standing in our midst.
    With the power to heal now…and the Grace to forgive.

    Simple child like faith(in Christ alone) jen-o…
    That’s the real deal that no one can steal.

    PBWY(Peace be with you)
    LG

  10. jen-o, 07 May, 2008

    dear lance,

    i didn’t mean to imply that you were defending watered-down preaching… sometimes, when i start posting about a topic, i go beyond what i am saying directly to that poster (because i am always cognizant of the fact that there are many other people reading these threads)

    i agree with you that we are saved by faith in Christ alone… and whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!

    PBWY, too
    shalom,
    jen-o
    :~)

  11. Joy B., 09 May, 2008

    Thank you, Lance for questioning me on this. As a fairly new Christian (Feb. 2006), I am still learning and probably always will be. I have several family members that believe as you do. What constitutes salvation may possibly be the 2nd most important question we face, with the first being whether we accept this gift of salvation. I will try to present why I have the opinions that I do. I welcome feedback from any of you.

    First let me say, I believe one mistake that I have made concerning Bush has been to assume when he says that all religions worship the same G-d that he is saying all religions lead to G-d. I know most of us believe the Jewish people worship the same G-d as we do, but we do not believe they will receive salvation until they accept Jesus Christ as their savior. So, I should not have jumped to the conclusion I did. However, Hillary Clinton has refused to acknowledge Jesus as the only path to G-d.

    I also believe one is saved by faith in Jesus Christ. I would define faith as belief plus commitment. His call is not just to believe, but to follow him:

    Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)

    This week I listened to Ashid, a Christian minister of Iranian descent, tell his story. He was born and raised in Houston. His family moved back to Iran when he was 2 yrs. old. They fled there as a result of the revolution and returned to Houston when he was 5. His English tutor was a Christian. When her work with him was done, she gave him a Bible to save to read when he was older. At 17 yrs. old, one of his football teammates asked him if he wanted to go to a crusade (not the best thing to ask a Muslim). He decided to go for the free pizza. That night, he fell in love with Jesus Christ. He went home and found the Bible he was once given. Over the next year, he secretly read his Bible and attended a Christian church. His dad finally confronted him about his secretiveness. At this time, Ashid told him he was a Christian. His dad gave him a choice between himself or Jesus. Ashid had to choose between the man he had loved his whole life and Jesus, the one he had just recently come to love. He chose Jesus. He could have kept his dad in his life and had his dad put him through medical school. Instead at 18 yrs. old, he was kicked out of his home, disowned by his family, and worked his way through college to become a minister. He could have made his dad proud. Instead, he chose to make his Father proud.

    I never understood the term “born again”, until it happened to me. Now, it truly makes since. I was truly born again two years ago. But, I know people who have considered themselves to be Christians their whole lives. But, I cannot see even one facet of their life that is different than it would be if they were an atheist. I find this confusing.

    There are two reasons why I so need to understand what constitutes salvation and why I may come off as legalistic. Jen fully explained how it is not a case of not “showing mercy”.
    (1) Because I am praying for the salvation of many people. I am not willing to settle for just my own northbound ticket. I want many that I know and love to get this same gift.
    (2) More damage is done to Christianity by those within it (think, “certain men have crept in”). Deception has always been around, but during this time we are living in, it is tremendous. What causes the “great falling away”? We know there are many who reject Christianity. But, will there be those who believe they are choosing Christianity when they are actually choosing something that has so been redefined that it is no longer Christianity. We cannot stand idly by while Christianity is redefined to be the same as Patt’s spirituality. This is why I harshly scrutinize those in influential positions.

    I look forward to more meaningful discussions with all of you.

    Joy

    P.S. Norm, the chickens will come home to roost in America.

    P.S. Lance, do you see the oxymoron between using free nation and politically correct (speech) in the same sentence. Speech codes are not a characteristic of a free nation, but one which is becoming increasingly oppressive.

  12. Lance Gilman, 14 May, 2008

    Thanks Joy.
    It is a great mystery to me why people are so quick to judge ones salvation.
    Especially whether someone who confesses they believe in Christ. If they say they believe then that settles it for me. Of course, nowadays with so many false Christ’s I know it is important to make sure it is the only real one, the biblical Jesus that people believe in.

    I suppose if we all had the international community reporting everything we say on a daily basis most of us “christians” would be called into question of whether we are saved.

    All I know is I’m a sinner.

    Saved by God’s wonderful mercy and grace, undeserved or fought for by me. I believe as a child believes – it keeps me grounded at the foot of the cross where the spotless Lamb of God bore my sins and changed my heart forever. After 15 years I still fall very short of being a perfect christian, and the longer I walk this earth the more I’m convinced I always will.

    The thief on the cross next to Jesus uttered one statement to his partner in crime saying they deserved their punishment and He(Jesus) did not.
    Then he asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom.
    Jesus replied, “No, first go get baptized, and then give at least a tenth of all you earned in your life to the church building fund, then share the good news some more and put a ‘Jesus Saves’ sticker on your camel, and keep the Sabbath, and then argue about whether my disciples really get what I’m trying to say,…blah , blah , blah.”

    NO! We all know Jesus really said,
    “I tell you the TRUTH, today you will be with me in paradise!”
    GLORIOUS!
    He had a simple but sure faith in Christ to just be who He claimed to be.

    The Centurion whose servant was healed was a man of whom Jesus said,” I have found no greater faith in all of Israel.” And that guy just believed Jesus could speak the word to heal his servant…
    There are other examples too…but, you know what I’m getting at.

    I once was blind but now I see…

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