Ariel Sharon and George Bush
Ariel Sharon and George Bush Israel News Photo

Maaleh Adumim, Betar Illit, Ariel and Gush Etzion are on the chopping block. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she refuses to honor an American promise that Israel retain large population centers.

Former President George W. Bush, in a letter to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004, wrote, "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, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.”

Secretary Clinton’s blunt dismissal of the “informal” promise places more than 100,000 residents of Maaleh Adumim, Ariel, Betar Illit and Gush Etzion on the list for future expulsions to make way for a Palestinian Authority state.

The State Department previously had dodged taking a stand on whether the Obama administration would honor the promise.

"There is no memorialization of any informal and oral agreements. If they did occur, which of course people say they did, they did not become part of the official position of the United States government," Clinton said at a news conference with the Turkish Foreign Minister.

She repeated a claim that the Roadmap requires Israel to surrender all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, although the document only calls for the future borders of Israel and a new PA state to be negotiated.

President Bush wrote his letter after Sharon proposed the “Disengagement" plan to expel nearly 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif and parts of northern Samaria and turn the Gaza communities over to the PA, which was taken over by Hamas in the area following implementation of the plan.

The letter also states, “I remain committed to my June 24, 2002 vision of two states living side by side in peace and security as the key to peace, and to the road map as the route to get there…. Under the road map, Palestinians must undertake an immediate cessation of armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere, and all official Palestinian institutions must end incitement against Israel….

“Your government has stated that the barrier being erected by Israel should be a security rather than political barrier, should be temporary rather than permanent, and therefore not prejudice any final status issues including final borders, and its route should take into account, consistent with security needs, its impact on Palestinians not engaged in terrorist activities.”