Donald Trump's foreign policy speech has created expectations that he will match Marco Rubio's pledge to stand by the commitments made by President Bush to Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Bush's letter dated 14 April 2004.
Rubio made his unequivocal pledge on 3 December 2015 at the Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum during his unsuccessful race to secure the Republican Party's endorsement as its Presidential nominee:
I will revive the common-sense understandings reached in the 2004 Bush-Sharon letter and build on them to help ensure Israel has defensible borders.
President Obama and his then former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did everything in their power to wriggle out of those Bush commitments – despite their having been overwhelmingly endorsed by the Senate 95-3 on 23 June 2004 and by the House of Representatives 407-9 on 24 June 2004.
Trump clearly had Obama and Clinton's betrayal of Israel in his sights – when stating:
… your friends need to know that you will stick by the agreements that you have with them. You've made that agreement, you have to stand by it and the world will be a better place.
The Bush-Congress endorsed commitments made in that 2004 letter undoubtedly represent such an agreement.
- President Bush's letter acknowledged the risks Israel's proposed unilateral disengagement from Gaza represented - and assured Israel that America:
- Would do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan other than the Roadmap envisioned by President Bush on 24 June 2002.
- Would maintain its steadfast commitment to Israel's security, including secure, defensible borders,
- Was strongly committed to Israel's well-being as a Jewish state.
- Understood that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement would need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.
- Accepted as part of a final peace settlement that Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.
- Acknowledged that in light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it would be unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations would be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, that all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution had reached the same conclusion
Sharon's successor - Ehud Olmert - had neither forgotten nor overlooked the critical significance of Bush's commitments when agreeing to resume negotiations with the Palestinian Authority - telling 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.
Gaza by then had become a de facto terrorist State with Hamas firmly entrenched as Gaza's governing authority.
Israel had since its disengagement been subjected to a sustained barrage of thousands of rockets and mortars fired indiscriminately into Israeli population centres from Gaza by a bewildering variety of terrorist groups and sub-groups who would have had no chance of operating so freely from Gaza if the Israeli Army had remained there.
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