The Bush letter of ’04: (10 years ago)
As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities
First, the United States remains committed to my vision and to its implementation as described in the roadmap. The United States will do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan.
Israel should maintain that the exchange of letters by PM Sharon and Pres Bush, 10 years ago, amount to an agreement which is still binding today, though Pres Obama has disavowed it. Israel should argue that the agreement is binding on the US and therefore she can continue to build in these settlements. Furthermore it should remind Obama that the US is committed to prevent any other plan from being presented. Ted Belman
New east Jerusalem construction plan gets go-aheadJerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approves plan to build 500 housing units in Ramat Shlomo, across Green Line • U.S. condemns move • President Reuven Rivlin: Jerusalem will not be divided again.
Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood|
The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee approved on Sunday a plan to build 500 housing units in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem located across the Green Line (the pre-1967 armistice line). The move was the first step in a long series of approvals needed before actual construction can begin and the process should take years.
The original plan envisioned the construction of 640 housing units, but that number was reduced to minimize damage to natural areas.
The approval drew quick condemnation from the U.S. government.
“It is unfortunate that after the unequivocal and unanimous position last week of the international community opposing construction in Jerusalem at this sensitive time, authorities chose to move forward,” said Edgar Vasquez, a spokesman for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. State Department. “We continue to engage at the highest levels with the Israeli government to make our position absolutely clear that we view settlement activity as illegitimate and unequivocally oppose unilateral steps that prejudge the future of Jerusalem.”
In an interview with Israel Hayom, President Reuven Rivlin said, “I’m in favor of building in Jerusalem and populating it openly, not with sly moves of one sort or another. Neighborhoods of Jerusalem have been built by all Israeli governments, in the face of large American protest. Jerusalem and its neighborhoods are not subject to debate. The world does not understand that Ramat Shlomo is in the center of Jerusalem and the provocateurs are in fact those who do not want to see the unity of the city. Jerusalem will not be divided again.”
On the other hand, Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer said, “The approval adds more fuel to the diplomatic fire and the crisis between Israel and the U.S.”