President George W. Bush's stay in Jerusalem was traumatic. And I am not referring solely to the political ramifications ("occupation") or the interference in internal Israeli politics ("protect Olmert"). On Wednesday last week, Jerusalem, for the most part, was a ghost down. The next day, Thursday, the north was shut down when he went Ramallah and the south was shut down in the afternoon, when he went to Bethlehem. It was a mess and it was outrageous.
I am sure that many people, even those who agree with his pressure on Israel, are personally angry at what he had done to the city. My daughter, for example, was told to stay home for two days as the area she worked in was part of the inner area that needed to be protected and it wasn't worth opening because no one could get there anyway.
So, while we keep up the political counter-pressure and ask our friends and allies abroad to do the same, I think what is needed is a public petition to be signed by as many Jerusalemites as possible. That petition will ask President Bush to please stay in Tel Aviv when he next comes here in May. He can fly up by helicopter for any celebrations and go right back. If he stays in the capital, very simply there will be no celebrations. No one will be able to get anywhere, visit, dance, set off noisemakers, etc. It will be the dampest party ever.
Maybe the readers of my blog in America will write the White House along these lines and get their Senators and Congressmen to send the President a bipartisan message: let Israel celebrate its national holdiay freely and without undue interference. We don't mind admiration from America, but Americans, tell your President not to poop our party.