The Bush Doctrine may be pretty much in tatters at the end of his presidency, but at least he’s still unwilling to cross one symbolic line: Bush won’t visit Yasser Arafat’s tomb.
Palestinian Authority officials on Monday expressed deep disappointment after learning that US President George W. Bush, who is expected to visit Ramallah soon, does not intend to lay a wreath at Yasser Arafat’s tomb. …
Bush would not stop by Arafat’s newly-built mausoleum during his visit to Ramallah, a source in the US Consulate in Jerusalem told The Jerusalem Post. The PA has invested millions of dollars in building the mausoleum in the Mukata “presidential” compound.
“I’m not aware of any plan to lay a wreath at Arafat’s tomb,” the source said. “This issue was not raised during preparations for President Bush’s tour and I doubt if he would do so.”
To avoid embarrassing the Palestinians, Bush may meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem or at the Prime Minister’s Office in Ramallah.
In response, a senior PA official said, “Of course we are very disappointed, although we weren’t surprised.” The official said the PA leadership had decided not to make a big issue out of the visit to Arafat’s mausoleum to avoid creating a crisis with the US.
Almost all foreign leaders who visit the Mukata stop by Arafat’s tomb to pay respects or lay a wreath on it.
(Hat tip: Carl in Jerusalem.)