The New York Times assesses the lack of progress toward defusing the conflict in the Middle East by the Bush administration today. These paragraphs get to the heart of the matter:

“The Bush administration finally has to get real,” said Henry Siegman, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It has avoided dealing with the most fundamental aspect of the conflict. There is no formulation under God’s sun that can get the parties to stop the violence, that can get the Palestinians to stop the violence, if this administration will not face up to the simple truth that stopping the violence and establishing the security of Israel is not something that serves any Palestinian goal whatsoever.

“The only way is to promise a clear political future, and not in the eschatological future but in the foreseeable future,” Mr. Siegman said. “If we’re not prepared to say that, then no matter how clever the formulation, no matter whether you call it the Tenet plan or the Mitchell plan or whatever, it’s not going to work.”