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Monday, March 28, 2005
IMRA: Clarification-Ambassador Kurtzer's statements - the missing "the"

IMRA: Clarification on Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer's statements - the missing
"the"

Aaron Lerner Date: 28 March 2005

Paul Patin, Press Attache, U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv , provided IMRA today the
transcripts of all of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzers' Interviews
with the Israeli media last Friday.

After reviewing the transcripts, IMRA sent the following inquiry to Mr.
Patin:

Dear Paul,

I want to thank you for sending me the transcripts.

As you know, the interpretation of UNSC 242 hinges on the absence of the
word "the" ["Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories" instead of
"Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from THE territories"]

I note that in the transcripts you have provided that in both instances that
Ambassador Kurtzer makes a statement about what the United States expects
will remain within Israel after final status talks that the word "the" is
absent:

"That in a negotiation on final status, the outcome is going to mean that
Israeli major population areas in our view should remain within the State of
Israel...."
U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer Interview with Israel Television Channel Ten
March 25, 2005

"U.S. policy is the support that the President has given for the retention
by Israel of major Israeli population centers as an outcome of
negotiations."
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer Interview with Israel Radio
March 25, 2005

Kindly clarify the significance of the absence of the word "the" in
Ambassador Kurtzer's carefully crafted remarks - does this mean not "all"
Israeli major population areas, in America's view, should remain within the
State of Israel?

Best regards,
Aaron

In a telephone conversation, Paul Patin replied to the inquiry by saying
that " the President's April letter states that there are realities on the
ground, there are major Israeli population centers, and realistically, we
can expect that negotiations will not produce an outcome that will push
Israel back to the '67 lines. At the same time, any final status agreement
will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes between Israel
and the Palestinians. We are not prejudging the outcome."

===

#1 Interview with Israel Television Channel Ten
American Embassy Tel Aviv - Press Section
U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer Interview with Israel Television Channel Ten
March 25, 2005

AMBASSADOR KURTZER: ...the President said to the Prime Minister at the time
and then committed in writing that the reality is that there are Israeli
population centers in the territories that are going to have to be taken
into account in any final status negotiations and the outcome that the
United States would support means that we are not going back to the 1967
lines. It is very clearly written in a letter that has been made public.
That hasn't changed whatsoever.

QUESTION: You say they are going to be taken count and we are not going to
go back to the 1967, but in this letter there is no - they don't say about
Maale Adumim and Ariel. They just say it in general?

AMBASSADOR KURTZER: The letter is not specific on which place. But the
President and the Prime Minister clearly understood that major Israeli
population centers - which is the phrase that is used in the letter -
includes major Israeli population centers. We know what they are; the people
of Israel know what they are and that is going to remain American policy.

QUESTION: This is the American current view about the settlement blocs?

AMBASSADOR KURTZER: That's correct.

QUESTION: So President Bush is willing to leave settlement blocs in Israeli
sovereignty in the future agreement just as Clinton was?

AMBASSADOR KURTZER: He said it clearly in the letter of last April - I can
say it again to the people of Israel. The President remains committed to
what he said in that letter: That in a negotiation on final status, the
outcome is going to mean that Israeli major population areas in our view
should remain within the State of Israel....

I believe there is full understanding between the Prime Minister and the
President and between the Prime Minister's office and his advisors and the
President's office and the President's advisors. Our discussions with the
Prime Minister, with Dov Weissglas, Shalom Turgeman, with all of the
officials who are associated with the Prime Minister's office have been very
clear and quite specific and that is what allowed us last April to reach a
very specific understanding that was then incorporated in a letter that the
President signed and was able to make public. So, I do not believe there are
any misunderstandings between us.

QUESTION: So, when Dov Weissglas says it is about Maale Adumim, about Ariel,
about all the big settlement blocs, it is okay, you stand behind this thing
he said.

AMBASSADOR KURTZER: The Government of Israel is going to make its
statements, the American government will make its statements. When we reach
understandings as we do have understandings, these are incorporated in
documents such as this letter. That letter remains the President's policy,
unquestionably.

... I think it is critically important, particularly now, the Prime Minister
is about to go to Washington again, to understand that the United States and
Israel do not have misunderstandings with respect to U.S. commitments. Those
commitments are very, very firm with respect to these Israeli major
population centers, our expectation that Israel is not going to be going
back to the 1967 lines. This is the President's policy. This President has
been very determined in having consistent and sure policy throughout his
time in office. That is the reality, that is the truth.

Thank you very much.

#2 Interview with Israel Radio American Embassy Tel Aviv - Press Section
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer Interview with Israel Radio
March 25, 2005

AMBASSADOR KURTZER: ... U.S. policy is the support that the President has
given for the retention by Israel of major Israeli population centers as an
outcome of negotiations. It is very, very clear to both the United States
and Israel what this means.

... The letter the President sent is clear in saying that when the final
status negotiations reach a conclusion they must reflect the realities on
the ground, especially the major Israeli population centers and the
President is equally clear that it is not realistic to expect that those
negotiations would result in a full and complete return to the 1967 lines.
Very, very clear.

...we are in a phase now that is not formally a part of the road map -- when
we get back to the road map we remain committed to the performance of all
the obligations that are in that road map. That is American policy.

... Dov Weissglas is a first-class, first-rate negotiator and first-rate
interlocutor for American officials. The understandings we reach with him in
our discussions here in Israel and in our discussions in Washington are
clear; they are without any doubts and there have been no misunderstandings
between us as a result of the discussions with him or with anyone else in
the Prime Minister's office.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

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