Marco Rubio has directly challenged Hillary Clinton – and every other Presidential candidate – to honour the commitments given by President Bush to Israel on 14 April 2004.
Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum Rubio said:
I will revive the common-sense understandings reached in the 2004 Bush-Sharon letterand build on them to help ensure Israel has defensible borders...
President Bush's letter – overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress – supported Israel's proposed unilateral disengagement from Gaza - stating:
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.
Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, who succeeded Sharon, had neither forgotten nor overlooked the critical significance of Bush's commitments when agreeing to resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority before an international audience of world leaders at Annapolis on 27 November 2007:
The negotiations will be based on previous agreements between us, U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the road map and the April 14, 2004 letter of President Bush to the Prime Minister of Israel.
It didn't take too long thereafter for these Presidential commitments to be downplayed by Bush himself and his advisors.
In an editorial - published on 14 May 2008 - former Jerusalem Post editor - David Horovitz - revealed Bush's shameful efforts to minimise the letter's significance - following Bush's meeting with a group of Israeli journalists at the White House:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, however, has been known to minimise the significance of this four-year-old letter. Just last week, for instance, she told reporters that the 2004 letter "talked about realities at that time. And there are realities for both sides…."
… Bush's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley has also given briefings to the effect that Israel had tried to overstate the importance of a rather vague letter...
Bush did not at first realize that I was referring to the 2004 letter. Hadley, who was also in the Oval Office, had to prompt him. "Okay, the letters," the president then said, remembering."
Bush was clearly reneging on his unequivocal commitments to Israel just six months after Olmert sought to rely on them.
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