The outgoing Israeli ambassador to the United States, Dani Ayalon, said that that the letter of the US President George W. Bush, dated on April 14, 2004, to the then-Prime minister Ariel Sharon is more important than the Balfour declaration of 1917, since its voids the Palestinian Right of Return and recognizes illegal Israeli West Bank settlement blocs as a de facto part of the state of Israel.


The statements of Ayalon came during an interview with Israeli reporters on Tuesday.

Ayalon stated that the letters is “of the highest historic importance”, and compared it to Balfour declaration on 1917.

The Balfour Declaration was a letter of November 2, 1917 from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, granting the Jewish people a national home in Palestine.

"His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.", the letter reads.

In 2004, US president George Bush sent a letter of assurances to Sharon and told him that he recognizes the settlements in the occupied West Bank as part of the State of Israel and that the Palestinian refugees will not return to Israel (their former home).

Ayalon stated that this letter “defined the outline of Israel”. He rejected the possibility that any pressure will be placed on Israel, under the Bush administration, to make Israel accept what he described as a “forced agreement”. 

The Israeli daily Yediot Ahranoth reported that Ayalon stated that he intends to retire from the Foreign Service on January 1 2007, after 20 years of service.

After his retirement, Ayalon wants to works on economics in the private sector. Yedioth Ahranoth quoted Ayalon as saying that he received several political offers including an offer to run for mayor in Hod HaSharon.