Exchange of Letters between Israeli PM Sharon and US President Bush (2004)
An exchange of letters between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and US President George Bush that took place on 14 April 2004. Sharon reiterated Israel's commitment to Bush's 2002 Vision for Peace and the 2003 Road Map for Peace, but cited the Palestinian leadership's non-compliance with its obligations under the latter, including combating terrorism and reforming the Palestinian political and security establishments, as an obstacle to reaching a settlement. He then presented his Disengagement Plan, under which Israel would withdraw from the Gaza Strip and part of the northern West Bank, as a unilateral move complementing the Road Map and improving Israel's security, economic and political situation. In his letter, Bush also expressed his commitment to his Vision for Peace, the Road Map and the two-state solution, as well as counter-terrorism efforts by Israel and the international community, and offered strong support to the Disengagement Plan. While stressing that a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli settlement would be based on UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338, he noted that it would be "unrealistic to expect" Israel to fully withdraw to pre-1967 lines, in part due to the existence of large Israeli settlement blocs. Bush added that a final territorial solution would have to include mutually agreed territorial exchange in order to reflect the reality on the ground. He acknowledged Olmert's statement that the West Bank Separation Barrier is a security measure and not a political barrier, with its route taking into account the minimization of impact on Palestinians not involved in terrorism.