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Wed Apr 14 2004Bush and Sharon Trade Away The Right of Return and Palestinian Land
Wed Apr 14 2004bush-sharon pact
On Wednesday April 14th 2004 Bush and Sharon appeared in a press conference at the White House. Much of what Bush stated was not new. He called for a change in Palestinian leadership and spoke of his commitment to "strengthening Israel's self-defense capability". But he went further, stating that "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". By the end of the speech it was apparent that Bush had in effect traded away both the West Bank as a contiguous Palestinian territory and the Palestinian right of return. Yasser Arafat denounced Bush for negotiating away the rights of the Palestinians without any consultation with any Palestinians. Qureia accused the United States of total bias against the Palestinians. Arab League spokesman Hesham Youssef said "We expect the United States to play honest broker. We accused it before of being unbalanced. Now we can't even say that. The United States has adopted Israel's position." an official statement fro the Arab League went on to state that "the council...affirmed unanimously that it rejects the new American position, which is likely to wreck the peace process in the Middle East...This position encourages Israel to persist in its aggression against the Palestinian people and its threats to security and stability in the region." Almost the entire EU came out against what many saw as the end of the roadmap and the end of the US's ability to mediate the conflict. French President Jacques Chirac "voiced what many across Europe were thinking" branding Bush's support for the Israeli plan "unfortunate and dangerous precedent." Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen stated "It remains the case that Israel has to make peace with its enemies, not its friends. Israel and the United States are not in conflict," Only British Prime minister Tony Blair came out in support of the Bush-Sharon plan.
Blair and Bush's unqualified support for Sharon, has created unprecedented hatred towards them among Palestinians. In an editorial, the Palestinian daily Al-Quds states "Bush has given Sharon everything that he wanted, but he has certainly not demonstrated the even-handedness and impartiality that the peace process requires...This biased position will exacerbate an already explosive situation, not only between the Palestinians and Israelis but in the whole Middle East region."
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