Ã‚Â In a news conference with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, U.S. president George Bush asked his guest not to undertake any activity that contravenes the road map or prejudices final status obligations.
‘I told the prime minister not to undertake any activity that contravenes the road map or prejudices final status obligations,’ Bush told reporters after the two met at the president’s Texas ranch.
Bush also said he reiterated to Sharon the immediate demands that Israel remove any unauthorized outposts in the Palestinian territories and ‘meet its road map obligations regarding settlements in the West Bank.’
Bush also asked Sharon not to expand the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, saying it threatens peace with Palestinians and violates the road map, which calls for a settlement freeze.
Bush also said that Israel can keep hold of major West Bank settlement blocs, but asked Sharon not to expand them.
Sharon told reporters, with Bush standing to his side, that large West Bank settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands in the framework of any final status agreement with the Palestinians.
‘The settlement blocs will remain in Israel’s hands in any final-status agreement no matter the repercussions entailed,’ Sharon said.
‘We are very interested in having (territorial) contiguity between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, however the matter will take many years and we will have many more opportunities to discuss it with the Americans,’ Sharon added.
‘Regarding the unauthorized outposts, I wish to reiterate that Israel is a society governed by the rule of law,’ Sharon said.
‘As such, I will fulfill my commitment to you, Mr. President, to remove unauthorized outposts. As to settlements, Israel will meet all its obligations under the road map.’ Sharon added.
Sharon: seemingly, we are on the edge of a civil war
In an interview with the American NBC TV network, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, few hours before a summit meeting with U.S. President George bush, described the current situation in Israel as if the state is Ã¢â‚¬Å“on the edge of a civil warÃ¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I had been fighting for the Jewish people through my entire life, but right now I feel the need to protect my self from themÃ¢â‚¬Â Sharon said.
Sharon predicted that the current period provides the best chance to conclude our conflict with Palestinians, explaining that it was not possible to achieve peace with a military leader like late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat
Since entering the plane heading to Texas, Sharon has repeatedly signaled pessimism over the chances to achieve progress towards ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Israeli media said that Sharon was to tell Bush that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is on the verge of collapsing and losing control to Palestinian armed groups, urging a discussion on the post-Abbas era.
By presenting a gloomy picture of the situation in Israel, Sharon is likely working to avoid open American criticisms of his current plans to expand settlements, and avoid expected American pressure for a coordinated pullout with the Palestinian Authority.