Two weeks ago, John Bull reported that talks between Bush and Sharon appeared to be
giving Israel the advantage over it's border dispute with Palestine.
Hold the presses. Get the latest news on the US position.
"Bush and Powell Pull Red Carpet Assurances from under Sharon
Just four days before Likud party members vote on Ariel Sharon’s Gaza disengagement plan, President George W. Bush looks like backtracking on some of
the key words contained in his statement and letter that so elated the Israeli prime minister after their talks in Washington on April 14. He is
preparing a second letter aimed at pleasing Jordan’s king Abdullah just as much when he arrives for his rescheduled White House talks on May 6.
Sharon has been triumphantly waving the presidential statement which asserted it would be unrealistic to expect Israel to return to the 1949 armistice
lines and noted that Palestinian refugees must be settled in a Palestinian state rather than Israel. Sharon’s advisers and spokesmen have presented
these assertions as fully endorsing Israeli settlement blocs outside the Gaza Strip and also praising the Gaza Strip withdrawal as a bold,
unprecedented move by any former Israeli prime minister.
However, the presidential letter to Abdullah under consideration now will state that both these intractable issues must be settled in direct
negotiations between the parties. "
"George W. Bush is the first US president to refer to the 1949 Armistice Lines in a formal statement on the Middle East conflict. This was the
most striking and portentous US policy change to emerge from his joint news conference with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon after their White
House talks Wednesday, April 14:
What he said was: Realities on the ground have changed over decades. In the light of those changes, including already existing major Israeli
population centers, it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the 1949 armistice
Final frontiers should be mutually agreed on the basis of these changes. "
"Sunday, April 18, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon formally presents to the Israeli cabinet the letters exchanged between him and President
George W. Bush Wednesday, April 14 that approve some key clauses of his disengagement plan.
Sharon accepts that right-wing ministers may walk out of his government; he is not sure either that his Likud party will vote in favor of his
blueprint on May 2. But he has been buoyed up by the praise heaped on him at the Bush-Blair summit Friday, April 16, in Washington. Both hailed his
project in warm terms as an important opportunity and called on Palestinians and “the international community” to rise to the occasion. Bush lauded
Sharon’s bold initiative. Even the British premier, upon is return home Saturday, April 17, faced down the sour comments of his own Labor members and
European Union functionaries by declaring the Sharon initiative had breathed new life into the road map. "
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