WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The Bush campaign for re-election is reportedly pushing the Middle East roadmap farther from the president's agenda.
Against a background of resumed Palestinian suicide bombings and Israel's "targeted killings" of militant leaders, some officials say the White House is distancing itself from the peace process.
The unidentified campaign spokesmen told the Financial Times President Bush is unlikely to take the risk of pursuing a strong personal commitment as he embarks on the 2004 presidential election campaign. Indeed, one official said this week the president's personal involvement was already finished.
"You have not seen any recent phone calls," the official said. "This is not the time to take on the Jewish lobby," he added, referring to next year's election.
Martin Indyk, Brookings Institution analyst and former U.S. ambassador to Israel, agrees with Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat that the road map is "dead". Bush, he said, was tied up with Iraq and is "walking away" from the Palestinian-Israel peace process.