Obama Mum on Bush's Borders for Israel

(Washington Times) Eli Lake - During a conference call Friday with reporters, Dan Shapiro, the White House National Security Council's senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, declined to say whether President Bush's 2004 letter to Prime Minister Sharon reflected the Obama administration's understanding of the parameters or borders of a final settlement to the conflict. The April 14, 2004, letter said a final peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians should reflect "new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers," and that "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." Shapiro said, "I don't think...we'll have a comment on these kinds of...private discussions that we're having with the parties. We have a very good understanding with our Israeli partners about the foundations of this relationship and this effort to move toward our shared goal of comprehensive peace and two states." Netanyahu's Cabinet has sought to establish the principle that Israel's final borders be "defensible." Moshe Yaalon, the Minister of Strategic Affairs, wrote in a recent essay for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that unilateral withdrawal encourages terrorists. "The fact is that the mere discussion of removing Israeli settlements encourages jihadists across the globe," he wrote. "Their stated aim, after all, is not to establish a Palestinian state but to 'wipe Israel off the map.'"

2010-07-05 08:28:47

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