For anyone with any notion of fair play the double standard the US President applies to the various players in this region is nauseating.

But even more nauseating is the way that countries which bear the brunt of his tongue-lashing and suffer because of Washington's biased treatment hang on to George W. Bush's every word.

When is it going to finally sink in? The US is no friend to the Arab world. What does it take for Arab leaders to get that message and quit kowtowing?

Anyone who heard Bush's speech before the Israeli Knesset marking Israel's 60th anniversary knows what I mean. It wasn't so much that there was anything new in it. It held no real surprises but, this time, the message was pure and unadulterated.

Bush is a committed Zionist who believes God has promised Israel to the Jewish people and is personally dedicated to ensure they keep it no matter what.

No wonder he received serial standing ovations from gob-smacked Israeli lawmakers! Even they wouldn't have dared come up with such treacly verbiage to describe their flawed and problem-beset state.

"You have forged a free and modern society based on the love of liberty, a passion for justice, and a respect for human dignity," Bush told them. "You have worked tirelessly for peace." I'd like to know how he managed to keep a straight face.

The Israelis have been too busy bombing their neighbours, expanding colonies on Palestinian land, constructing an apartheid wall, demolishing homes, tearing down 100-year-old olive trees and keeping the people of Gaza imprisoned and in the dark to work towards peace.

Acknowledging Jews as the Biblical "Chosen people" Bush regretted that the "joy of independence was tempered by the outbreak of battle, a struggle that has continued for six decades.

Yet in spite of the violence, in defiance of the threats, Israel has built a thriving democracy in the heart of the Holy Land. You have welcomed immigrants from the four corners of the Earth," he said.

This statement not only ignores the displaced Palestinian people's past and present suffering it condemns their legitimate resistance.

In Bush's reverse universe the Palestinians should no doubt have stocked up their larders and handed over the keys to their homes before obligingly committing suicide en masse so that Jewish "immigrants from the four corners of the Earth" wouldn't be inconvenienced.

He used his speech as an opportunity to discredit the United Nations for routinely passing "more human rights resolutions against the freest democracy in the Middle East than any other nation in the world". He condemned Israel's Arab foes, in particular, Hamas and Hezbollah.

He heaped scorn on "appeasers" prepared to dialogue with people he refers to as "terrorists" and "extremists"; a statement that Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has interpreted as having been directed at him.

The "expansion of liberty" (read forcible expansion of American hegemony) is "the path to a peaceful future," he said ominously before laying out his vision of the Middle East 60 years hence.


And just in case there remained an Israeli who still doubted his nation's loyalties he promised: "Israel's population may be just over seven million but when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong because the United States of America stands with you."

Wait a minute, though. In the President's mind who are the perpetrators of this so-called "terror and evil" if not Arabs?

To add insult to injury he didn't even bother travelling to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Instead, he had the chutzpah to fly to Saudi Arabia with his hand out demanding increased oil production with the aim of bringing down prices.

Bush told the Israelis that their talent and determination was more "valuable than oil" but during his visit to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm Al Shaikh on Sunday - where he did briefly meet with Abbas - he warned Arabs that their oil will run out one day and lectured them on women's rights, democracy and the plight of political prisoners.

Finally, the essence of Bush's message has got through to one Arab leader. Mahmoud Abbas, now says he is ready to quit if there is no sign of a peace deal within six months.

"In principle, the Bush speech at the Knesset angered us, and we are not happy with it," he said. "We do not want the Americans to negotiate on our behalf. All that we want from them is to maintain a minimum of neutrality."

Abbas might as well walk away now. As long as there's a Bush White House there will be no Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

The establishment of Israel was "the redemption of an ancient promise to Abraham and Moses and David - a homeland for the chosen people Eretz Israel," said Bush for once unafraid to wear his Zionist beliefs emblazoned on his sleeve.

So let's quit kidding around. Bush has shown his true colours and those Arabs who insist on giving the US President a red carpet welcome must be either terminally sycophantic, chronically masochistic or dangerously colour blind.

Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at