President Trump has buried the Bush Roadmap and any lingering hope for the creation of a second Arab State (“the two-state solution”) – in addition to Jordan – in the territory covered by the 1922 Mandate for Palestine.
This inevitability follows Trump’s failure at a White House joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 15 February to reaffirm the written commitments made by President Bush to Israel in his letter dated 14 April 2004 - overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress by 502 votes to 12 (“Bush Congress-Endorsed Commitments”).
President Bush had been urged to do so just the day before by veteran US peace negotiator - Dennis Ross – who stated it would have:
significant implications, both because it was recognizing settlement blocs referred to in the letter as major population centers, but also because it said that no agreement can involve going back to the 1949 Armistice lines or the equivalent of June 4, 1967.
Similar calls had also been made by:
- Michael Oren - Israel’s former Ambassador to Washington and currently Deputy Minister in Netanyahu’s Prime Minister’s office
- Tzipi Livni – former Israeli Foreign Minister who had led negotiations for Israel with the Palestinian Authority in the peace talks brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry from July 2013 until April 2014.
- Danny Ayalon - Former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister
Former Israeli United Nations ambassador and until recently the Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry - Dore Gold - had been concerned as far back as 9 June 2009 that President Obama was not going to reaffirm the Bush Congress-Endorsed Commitments:
For example, it still needs to be clarified whether the Obama administration feels bound by the April 14, 2004, Bush letter to Sharon on defensible borders and settlement blocs, which was subsequently ratified by large bipartisan majorities in both the US Senate (95-3) and the House of Representatives (407-9) on June 23-24, 2004. Disturbingly, on June 1, 2009, the State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, refused to answer repeated questions about whether the Obama administration viewed itself as legally bound by the Bush letter. It would be better to obtain earlier clarification of that point, rather than having both countries expend their energies over an issue that may not be the real underlying source of their dispute.
Obama’s clarification never came.
Even Netanyahu – just before boarding a plane to see Obama in the White House in May 2011- had said he expected:
to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of American commitments made to Israel in 2004 which were overwhelmingly supported by both Houses of Congress.
Netanyahu never received that affirmation then – nor did he from Trump now.
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