Bush: No Building
in Maale Adumim
New York – Both the New York Times and the Jerusalem Post reported that “Israel has bowed to United States pressure” and decided not to build apartments on the outskirts of Maale Adumim, a large Jewish community near Jerusalem. Over 30,000 Jews reside there. This housing development is within the existing community and does not create a new “settlement”.
The Bush Administration pressure on Israel is most surprising since President Bush gave Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, a written promise that Israel should retain at least all the areas with major Jewish populations in Judea and Samaria. In fact, Sharon often hawked this promise as a quid pro quo for retreating from Gaza and Northern Shomron. In this written promise, President Bush said, “The United States appreciates the risks leaving Gaza represents. I therefore want to reassure you In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, 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 ”
In response to questions about this forced freeze, State Dept. spokesman Sean McCormack stated that “any final status agreement or changes to the 1949 armistice line must be agreed to by both parties.” When reporters reminded McCormack that Bush also said he supports Israel’s claim to the area and asked, “Why would you object to Israel securing an area that you support Israel retaining?” McCormack simply replied, “This is our position on the matter.”
Ehud Ohlmert, deputy Prime Minister, did state that, “It is absolutely clear that at a certain point in the future, Israel will create continuity between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumin, and so there is not even an argument that in the end we will have to build the project.” Several days ago, Prime Minister candidate Benjamin Netanyahu announced that as Prime Minister he would start building 5000 apartments in Maale Adumin immediately.
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Morton A. Klein said, “We are dismayed that President Bush has pressured Israel not to build in an already existing and large Jewish community that he apparently agreed that Israel will keep. Stopping Israeli building within existing communities won’t bring peace, it will only encourage more Palestinian Arab intransigence. Stopping Palestinian Arab incitement, disarming terror groups, arresting terrorists and closing bomb factories will promote peace. President Bush should be pressuring the Palestinian Authority who has fulfilled none of their obligations; not Israel who has fulfilled almost all of theirs.