Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have yet to signal their readiness to honour the commitments made by President Bush in his letter dated 14 April 2004 to Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Bush's letter – overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Representatives 407-9 on 23 June 2004 and the Senate 95-3 the next day – supported Israel's proposed unilateral disengagement from Gaza and four settlements in the West Bank.
Bush further reassured Israel that in final status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority America would support Israel:
- not returning to the 1949 armistice lines
- demanding recognition as the Jewish state
- refusing Palestinian Arab refugees being resettled in Israel
Bush's assurances were absolutely crucial to Israel resuming negotiations with the Palestinian Authority – Israel's then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert telling world leaders gathered with Bush at Annapolis on 27 November 2007:
The negotiations will be based on previous agreements between us, UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Roadmap and the April 14th 2004 letter of President Bush to the Prime Minister of Israel.
Former Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz revealed in an editorial that he raised the letter during Bush's meeting with a group of Israeli journalists at the White House in May 2008:
Bush did not at first realize that I was referring to the 2004 letter. [National Security Adviser] Hadley, who was also in the Oval Office, had to prompt him. "Okay, the letters," the president then said, remembering.
Bush's apparent memory lapse could not be claimed by his successor President Obama who set out to deliberately circumvent Bush's commitment supporting Israel's position on territorial withdrawal.
Obama's attack dog was Hillary Clinton – then Secretary of State - who claimed on 6 June 2009 that the letter:
...did not become part of the official position of the United States government.
Elliott Abrams – Middle East Affairs point-man at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009 – had no qualms dismissing Clinton's contention, stating in July 2009:
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