George W. Bush’s statements during his recent meeting with Mahmud Abbas deserve our attention. It had an impact on Israel, but not on the U.S. Bush said that Israel and Palestine final statute should “be the fruit of an agreement between the different parties and that the changes in the lines of the 1949 armistice should also be the result of a mutual agreement”. He also asked Israel not to make any decisions that would infringe the obligations of the “waybill”. To conclude, he asserted that it was necessary to preserve the contiguous nature of the West Bank and the need to have important means of access between the West Bank and Gaza. If the President abides by his statements he could take a significant step in favor of the Israeli-Palestinian peace, the democratization of the Middle East and the fight against Islamist terrorism.
Thirty-eight years ago, Israel took over Sinai, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan. Simultaneously, without any previous discussion, Lyndon Johnson decided that Israel could keep these lands as long as the Arabs didn’t sign a peace agreement with Israel. This “peace-in-exchange-for-territory” approach was taken again in the UN resolution 242. Johnson also declared that the final statute should not vary much from the 1967 borders. However, in a letter sent in April 2004 to Ariel Sharon, Bush had said that the reality of the region would have to be taken into account and that there could be no return to the 1967 borders.
During Mahmud Abbas’s visit, George W. Bush took again the U.S. traditional line. We welcome this news. But which version is to be believed? We’ll soon know it. But today, everything compels the President to keep Washington’s traditional position.
Gulf News is the main newspaper devoted to the entire Persian Gulf . Circulation: more than 90,000 editions. Edited in Dubai in English, it is read largely by the important foreigner community residing in the region.
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