Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon told U.S Jewish figures that the West Bank settlement of Maali Adumim will be linked to Jerusalem.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Maali Adumim, the most beautiful town, will be connected to JerusalemÃ¢â‚¬Â, Sharon said.Ã‚Â
Ã‚Â Sharon uttered his statements after the outgoing U.S ambassador Daniel Kurtzer stated that the American president George W. Bush would back the Israeli request to keep the biggest settlement in the occupied West Bank under Israeli control in any permanent peace deal with the Palestinians.
Israel previously proposed the Ã¢â‚¬Å“E1Ã¢â‚¬Â project which aims to construct more than 3500 homes in order to link the settlement with the east of Jerusalem, thus blocking any geographical unity between northern West Bank areas with the south; Israel also plans to build a police station in the area.
Palestinian officials repeatedly warned that this project kills any chances of a future Palestinian state with geographical unity.
Sharon claimed that the project will not cut of the West Bank.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They will be connected, I do not think that there will be any problemÃ¢â‚¬Â, Sharon added.
Sharon claimed that Israel is examining several options to maintain unity between north of the West Bank and the south, but did not elaborate of this issue.
Kurtzer stated on Sunday that Bush would back the Israeli request to keep some settlement blocks in the West Bank under permanent Israeli control.
Kurtzer, who completed his term on Friday, said that Bush sent a letter to Sharon in April 2004 vowing American support to Israel in retaining what was described as Ã¢â‚¬Å“areas of high concentration of Israeli population in the West BankÃ¢â‚¬Â
Kurtzer added that the Israeli return to the pre-war borders of 1949 is unlikely.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are major Israeli population centers in the West Bank now, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of the final status negotiations will be a full withdrawal from the West Bank, there cannot be a full withdrawal and return to the lines of 1949Ã¢â‚¬Â, the letter which Bush handed to Sharon on April 14, 2004 reads.Ã‚Â
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the United States should be unbiased to Israel in issues regarding the finale status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Such statements are counterproductive to the peace processÃ¢â‚¬Â, Erekat said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“This preempts and prejudges issues reserved to be discussed in the final status negotiationsÃ¢â‚¬Â.Ã‚Â
Kurtzer will be succeeded by Richard H. Jones, who arrived in Israel on Sunday.