The administration of President George W. Bush entered office with a decided disinclination toward high level engagement in Arab-Israeli peacemaking. This decision was undoubtedly influenced by the repeated failure of Bush's predecessor, President Bill Clinton, to make a lasting contribution to resolving this enduring and bitter conflict. As is often the case in the Middle East, the situation in the region soon became so volatile that the White House felt compelled to act. Under significant pressure from concerned groups in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East itself, Bush explored various options for ameliorating this escalating conflict. This culminated in his controversial speech of June 2002. In this speech Bush acknowledged the desirability of creating a Palestinian state while at the same time expressing an official U.S. view that Yassir Arafat was no longer a reliable negotiating partner and that Washington no longer wished to deal with him.