New York – On Saturday, June 18, in an interview with reporters on her plane, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was asked, “Will you engage the Israelis on the settlement issue east of Jerusalem?” She responded by saying, “I will certainly say to the Israelis, which is that the United States has very clear policy on this. They also have very clear obligations under the Roadmap, and we don’t intend to give — we don’t intend that the Israelis try to create facts on the ground. They simply cannot engage in activities that are supposed to somehow prejudge a final status outcome.
The President said that PM Sharon when he was there in April of last year, that there are certain facts that — certain realities that have been created since 1967 that will have to be taken into account of at the time of negotiation. But it will have to be negotiated and any changes are going to have to be mutually agreed, and I will make those points clear again to the Israelis.”
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is deeply disappointed that Sec’y Rice did not state that the US will support Israel’s demand to keep, at a minimum, all of major population blocs such as Maaleh Adumim, Efrat, Ariel and others where almost 200,000 Israelis live. US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer made a remark similar to Rice’s several months ago.
We are now worried that President Bush is reneging on his apparent promise that he supports Israel keeping at least these areas. This is not the position one takes who considers himself the ‘best friend Israel ever had.’ President Bush and Secy Rice must be reminded that the area past ’67 border was territory illegally occupied by Jordan that Israel captured in a defensive war against Egypt, Syria and Jordan’s attempt to destroy the Jewish state of Israel.”
“We are further perplexed by Secy Rice asking Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to ‘release more Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.’ If one is serious about the war on terror, one should keep terrorists in prison — not release them.” This position is not in keeping with the tough positions President Bush has taken as part of our U.S. war against Islamic terror.”