The Facts on the Ground are Different, Mr. President

I have the greatest respect and admiration for President Bush, but if he really believes what he says in this article, than he, and is his advisors, are not in touch with what is really happening with the Palestinians:

US President George W Bush said overnight Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip was “a courageous and painful step” that may help revive the so-called roadmap to Middle East peace.

“Both Israelis and Palestinians have elected governments committed to peace and progress, and the way forward is clear: We’re working for a return to the road map,” he said in a speech to about 15,000 veterans.
“Palestinian President (Mahmoud) Abbas has rejected violence and taken steps toward democratic reform. This past week, Prime Minister Sharon and the Israeli people took a courageous and painful step by beginning to remove settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank,” Mr Bush said.

Mr Bush said the US would work with Abbas’s government to smother extremist groups – something Israel has made a precondition for progress on the internationally drafted peace plan.

Mr. Abbas has no way to control the Gaza territory, nor does he have any ability to “smother extremist groups.” To believe anything else is to not understand the facts on the ground.