ZOA: Bush’s Failure To Mention Refugees, Borders In Speech Implies Reneging On Promises Made To Sharon
May 19, 2004

NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is deeply disappointed that President Bush, in his remarks to the AIPAC conference this week, failed to reiterate the promises he made to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon just last month, regarding the issues of refugees, borders, and Jewish communities in the territories.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, who attended the AIPAC conference in his capacity as a member of the AIPAC Executive Committee, said: “His speech to the AIPAC conference would have been the natural and appropriate time for President Bush to reiterate what he promised Prime Minister Sharon. Instead, the issues of refugees, borders, and Jewish communities in the territories were conspicuously absent from his remarks. His silence on these issues was deafening. This is further evidence that he has backtracked and reneged on his promises to Sharon and Israel.”

After his meeting with Prime Minster Sharon at the White House in April, President Bush issued a statement that the U.S. opposes the mass return of Palestinian Arab “refugees” from around the world to Israel, and added that “it is unrealistic to expect … a full and complete return” by Israel to the pre-1967 borders.

But the Bush administration soon began backtracking. On May 3, the Quarter the U.S., the United Nations, Russia, and the European Union—declared that Israel “must end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967” clearly implying a complete Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders, that is, total surrender of Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and much of Jerusalem. The Quartet statement also said that any Arab-Israeli solution must be based on previous U.N. resolutions (which are slanted against Israel) and the Saudi Plan for total Israeli surrender. (Washington Post, May 5, 2004)

In addition, after meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II on May 6, President Bush said that all final status issues (including refugees, borders, and Jewish communities in the territories) between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs have to be settled through negotiations and that the United States would not take any positions that would “prejudice” the outcome of the negotiations. He did not repeat any of the promises he made to Prime Minister Sharon.

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