NEW YORK- President Bush is already backing away from the promises he recently made to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, according to Israel Radio.
After their recent White House meeting, President Bush opposed the right of millions of Arabs refugees to settle in Israel, and said that future borders should take into account demographic realities, which was widely interpreted as meaning the U.S. would support Israeli retention of parts of Judea-Samaria that have large Israeli populations.
However, Secretary of State Colin Powell was subsequently quoted as saying that the U.S. had taken no new positions, and all issues should be subject to Arab-Israeli negotiations.
Now Israel Radio reports that President Bush, in an attempt to appease Jordanian King Abdullah II, is preparing a letter in which he states that the final positions on the West Bank settlements and Palestinian right-of-return are subject to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post, April 28, 2004)
It is the view of the Zionist Organization of America that if the report is accurate, it is deeply troubling that President Bush is already backing away even from the minimal promises he made so recently to Israels prime minister. This raises the real possibility that even if Israel makes sweeping concessions such as surrendering Gaza and expelling 8,000 Jews from their homes, Israel still cannot count on the Bush administrations support on such crucial issues as refugees, borders and Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.