Towards Annapolis: Is U.S. Policy Changing on Israel's Rights in a Peace Settlement?Read the entire article.
* After being sworn into office in 2001, the Bush administration informed the Israeli government that the Clinton proposals "were off the table." The Bush Letter of April 14, 2004, received by Israel as a quid pro quo for the Gaza Disengagement, introduced new elements into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that completely superseded the Clinton proposals.
* Prime Minister Sharon explained the significance of the Bush Letter to the Knesset on April 22, 2004: "There is American recognition that in any permanent status arrangement, there will be no return to the '67 borders. This recognition is to be expressed in two ways: understanding that the facts that have been established in the large settlement blocs are such that they do not permit a withdrawal to the '67 borders and implementation of the term 'defensible borders.'"
* There is a serious question about the exact standing of the Bush Letter on the eve of Annapolis. Secretary of State Rice stated on November 13, 2007: "I believe that most Israelis are ready to leave most of the - nearly all of the West Bank, just as they were ready to leave Gaza for the sake of peace." Yet all serious public opinion polls actually show strong Israeli support for retaining strategic areas of the West Bank, like the Jordan Valley.
* It has been frequently stated, particularly in Washington, that, "We all know what the final outcome of an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement will look like," an assertion usually followed by some reference to the Clinton proposals and the talks at Taba. Such statements try to introduce inevitability into the expected parameters of a peace settlement, even though they are based on a whole series of failed negotiating attempts seven years ago that cannot possibly bind the State of Israel, and completely ignore the fact of opposition by the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces to the Clinton proposals as endangering Israel's security.
* It is critical for Israeli diplomacy to protect the Bush Letter against those who seek to undercut and replace it with a new set of Israeli-Palestinian documents. Israelis have learned from their experience with Gaza what can happen to their most vital security interests if they are not safeguarded at the same time that far-reaching territorial concessions are made. [emphasis added]
Friday, November 23, 2007
Is U.S. Policy Changing on Israel's Rights in a Peace Settlement?
The following is a summary of the article by Dore Gold.