Bush-Congress Letter

Time to Revive the 2004 Bush-Congress Letter to Israel

Shortly after his inauguration, President Barack Obama abandoned a series of pledges that his predecessor had made to Israel. They included the promise that the U.S. would support a number of Israeli positions in future negotiations with the Palestinians, including a) Israel would not be compelled to cede its claims to all of the territory captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War; b) millions of Palestinian Arabs would not be resettled in Israel; and, c) Israel must be recognized as the state of the Jewish people.

These commitments were delivered by former President George W. Bush to the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the form of a two-page letter at a White House press conference on April 14, 2004.  Several months later, Congress would add its support to the letter’s terms by lopsided margins—95-3 in the Senate and 407-9 in the House of Representatives.

A letter from a U.S. President to an Israeli Prime Minister might not seem like a big deal. Yet, it’s what enabled PM Sharon to undertake risks for peace—the removal of every Israeli citizen, settlement, and military base in Gaza, and the removal of four small settlements in the West Bank.

In fact, the Bush-Congress letter was incredibly valuable since it helped Sharon win domestic public approval for his Gaza disengagement plan. Of course, Sharon may have taken this unprecedented move even in the absence of the White House’s support. But the letter made it an easier sell.

While the letter was viewed by the Arabs as signaling a major break in U.S. policy, the reality is that previous U.S. administrations had also accepted that there would be no return to the 1949 borders because Israel would keep some of the settlements. Basically, the 2004 Bush-Congress letter just “set forth publicly” something that had already been widely acknowledged by the U.S. government: to ensure Israel’s security with defensible borders, the 1967 lines weren’t a useful starting point for negotiations.

Indeed, it was President Obama who shifted the goal posts by refusing to view the Bush-Congress letter as binding on U.S. policy and by claiming that negotiations should start on the 1967 lines.

President Obama’s cavalier decision to reject the Bush-Congress letter soured relations between the U.S. and its most important ally in the Middle East during the early days of the Obama presidency. From the Israeli perspective, it was a betrayal.

But it was also a setback to the cause of peace. It meant that every time Israel built an apartment in east Jerusalem or in the settlement blocs that hug the Green Line, the Palestinians saw themselves as authorized to break off talks. It’s also solidified the erroneous viewpoint that the primary obstacle to peace is Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), rather than Palestinian intransigence and persistent unwillingness to make reasonable compromises or accept the Jewish people’s right to a state in its ancient homeland.

George W. Bush understood that Israel shouldn’t be required to retreat to indefensible borders, transfer hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their homes, or absorb 5 million Palestinians claiming to be descendants of those Arabs who had lived in pre-1948 Palestine because doing all of that would result in the demise of Israel as a Jewish state—the basis of its foundation. These common-sense understanding were rightly viewed as so important to furthering a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace that President Bush saw fit to enshrine them in a formal presidential letter as a series of commitments by the United States to Israel.

The next president should honor these commitments. Not only would reinstating the Bush-Congress letter help to ensure the security and well-being of the Jewish state in an increasingly volatile and dangerous region, it could also jumpstart the moribund peace process by reaffirming America’s commitment to the two-state solution and by giving Israel’s leaders the backing they need to take new risks for peace. Most importantly, reviving the Bush-Congress letter would make it clear that the U.S. is no longer willing to pressure Israel to respond to “inflated” Palestinian demands.

For an extended discussion of the 2004 Bush-Congress letter and its implications, along with relevant sources, images, and video, see Miriam Elman, “Time to Honor our April 14, 2004 Commitments to Israel,” Legal Insurrection, April 14, 2016.

Miriam F. Elman is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University where she serves as research director for International and Intra-state Conflict and Collaboration at the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC). Elman received her Ph.D. and M.Phil. in political science from Columbia University and completed her B.A. in International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the editor of five books and the author of over 60 journal articles, book chapters, and government reports on topics related to international and national security, religion and politics, the Middle East, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She is an avid blogger and frequently speaks and writes on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) anti-Israel movement. Follow her on Twitter @MiriamElman.

Photo Credit: Israeli and American flags in Tel Aviv. By Ilan via Flickr.

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  • I think this article is really out of touch with both today’s realities and yesterday’s history. The closest that Israel and the Palestinians came to making a legitimate peace agreement were the Taba talks. However, when the talks continued and the Palestinians finally offered some counterproposals, Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Barak walked out of the talks for an understandable but regrettable reason: elections that were to take place in both the US and Israel. And in both nations, leaders who were more conservative, and, in the case of Israel, antagonistic toward negotiations were seen as realistic possibilities. Thus, there was no guarantee that whatever agreement was reached at Taba, that the next leaders would carry through with them. BTW, those leaders names were Ariel Sharon and George Bush. Also, why the Palestinians wanted to keep negotiating was that regardless of the land offered, what wasn’t offered was sovereignty, a sovereignty that could only come with a contiguous land mass in the West Bank.

    Now, let’s get to today. The article line that states:

    It meant that every time Israel built an apartment in east Jerusalem or in the settlement blocs that hug the Green Line, the Palestinians saw themselves as authorized to break off talks.

    seems to be unaware of the continued confiscation of quality land in the West Bank with the last confiscation being around 1,000 acres announced this year, 2016. The line also shows a lack of awareness of the fact that with each new confiscation of land, there is a demolition or confiscation of Palestinian homes, infrastructure, and economic resources. In short, with each new confiscation of land, there is a destruction of any possibility that the Palestinians could ever achieve a viable state and thus each confiscation becomes a nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. So if there is an ever dwindling opportunity of a viable Palestinian State, what do the Palestinians have to Palestinians have to negotiate for? And, where is the Palestinians’ right to have their own land mass and defensible borders

    There is also the contradiction between calling Israel a Jewish State and calling it a democracy like what we claim to have. To illustrate that, all one has to see if the US has passed any laws that guarantee or even work to maintain a majority for the White race in this country. Has the US passed any laws that guarantee Protestant Christian control over the government? See, calling Israel a Jewish is problematic because there are non-Jewish citizens in Israel. With the current set of laws in place there, these citizens are only guaranteed a 2nd class citizenship at best. Yes, a Jewish homeland was necessitated by almost 2,000 years of harsh anti-Semitism and that would be true with or without the Holocaust. And we should note Western Christianity’s role in carrying out that racism. But by insisting that that homeland would also become a Jewish State, then you have put Jews into the roles of their various past oppressors. Students of American History should understand that since those European settlers who first came to this country to escape religious persecution not only persecuted fellow settlers from different Christian denominations, they participated in the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from the land as well as relied on slavery as a way of building their economy.

    Finally, there has been no significant changes in how the Obama Administration has treated Israel. Yes, Obama hasn’t been as chummy with Netanyahu as Bush was and Biden has criticized Israel for its land confiscation. But the funding and the military aid and promise of military support should it be needed is still there. And the State Department language calls any attempt to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish State anti-Semitism.

    • Miriam F. Elman

      I appreciate the time taken to write in these remarks. However, the comments rest on several misnomers and inaccuracies. I have included hyperlinks to sources for further information on the points below.

      1. It is simply not the case that there have been no other significant negotiations since the Taba talks. Additionally, the Olmert-Abbas and Netanyahu-Abbas negotiations both involved substantial Israeli concessions. PM Abbas never responded to former PM Ehud Olmert’s overtures. We now know that in 2013 Netanyahu offered extensive concessions on final status issues but was rebuffed (see here and here). Those terms were kept secret, but their contours were leaked during the last elections—the hope was that once Netanyahu’s voting base learned of his ‘treachery’ they would turn against him. The gamble failed. I discuss this episode at length in my op-ed here.

      2. It is a well-known fact that the Netanyahu-led government has not “continued the confiscation of land” in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank. The data show that housing starts in settlements beyond the security fence have declined considerably under Netanyahu (for discussions see, for example, here and here).

      3. In terms of settlements in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank it is important to note that the Palestinian Authority has been building illegally in Area C, an area which was placed under exclusive Israeli jurisdiction in the 1995 Oslo II Accord. Thousands of illegal builds have occurred, the vast majority with funding from the EU. Israel has demolished only some of these illegal constructions. There has been considerable coverage of this issue recently (see here and here). For a useful discussion of this infringement of Oslo and the undermining of the prospects for peace, see this recent article by Bar Ilan’s Prof. Hillel Frisch here.

      4. There is no “contradiction” between Israeli democracy and its designation as a national home for the Jewish people, a designation which is enshrined in international law. The literature on this topic is vast (for helpful readings see, for example, here and here).

      5. Israeli Arabs, 22% of the population are not ‘second class citizens’. They participate in all aspects of Israeli life. As is the case for minorities everywhere on the planet, there is still room to narrow gaps. Efforts to do so are underway. The non-Jewish Israeli citizenry is diverse and many are patriotic supporters of their country.

      6. The souring of U.S.-Israel relations during the Obama presidency has been covered extensively. President Obama has been needlessly combative (see, for example, here and here). For more on the benefits that accrue to the U.S via its special relationship with Israel, see my blog post here.

    • mfe

      From: Miriam F. Elman, Syracuse University

      I appreciate the time taken to write in these remarks. However, the comments rest on several misnomers and inaccuracies. I have included hyperlinks to sources for further information on the points below:

      It is simply not the case that there have been no other significant negotiations since the Taba talks. Additionally, the Olmert-Abbas and Netanyahu-Abbas negotiations both involved substantial Israeli concessions.

      PM Abbas never responded to former PM Ehud Olmert’s overtures (http://www.haaretz.com/news/olmert-abbas-never-responded-to-my-peace-offer-1.263328).

      We now know that in 2013 Netanyahu offered extensive concessions on final status issues but was rebuffed. (See: http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-document-said-to-reveal-pms-concessions-to-palestinians/ and http://www.thetower.org/0089-analyst-netanyahu-made-significant-concessions-u-s-focus-on-abbas/).

      Those terms were kept secret, but their contours were leaked during the last elections—the hope was that once Netanyahu’s voting base learned of his ‘treachery’ they would turn against him. The gamble failed. I discuss this episode at length in my op-ed:

      http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/03/if-bibi-loses-can-israel-resist-obamas-regional-goals/.

      It is a well-known fact that the Netanyahu-led government has not “continued the confiscation of land” in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank. The data show that housing starts in settlements beyond the security fence have declined considerably under Netanyahu. (For discussions see, for example, http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/05/everything-you-know-about-israeli-settlements-is-wrong/ and https://www.commentarymagazine.com/politics-ideas/liberals-democrats/obamas-settlement-construction-lie-netanyahu/).

      In terms of settlements in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank it is important to note that the Palestinian Authority has been building illegally in Area C, an area which was placed under exclusive Israeli jurisdiction in the 1995 Oslo II Accord. Thousands of illegal builds have occurred, the vast majority with funding from the EU. Israel has demolished only some of these illegal constructions.

      There has been considerable coverage of this issue recently. (See: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israel-to-European-governments-Stop-funding-illegal-Palestinian-building-411973
      and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2874883/EU-funding-illegal-building-West-Bank-says-report.html).

      For a useful discussion of this infringement of Oslo and the undermining of the prospects for peace, see this recent article by Bar Ilan’s Prof. Hillel Frisch: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/18693.

      There is no “contradiction” between Israel’s democracy and its designation as a national home for the Jewish people, a designation which is enshrined in international law. The literature on this topic is vast. (For helpful readings see, for example, http://www.thetower.org/article/whats-wrong-with-re-affirming-israels-jewish-and-democratic-character/ and http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/jewish-or-democratic-israels-former-top-judge-reflects-on-values/).

      Israeli Arabs, 22% of the population are not ‘second class citizens’. (See http://www.adl.org/israel-international/israel-middle-east/content/AG/response-to common.html). Israeli Arabs participate in all aspects of Israeli life. As is the case for minorities
      everywhere on the planet, there is still room to narrow gaps. Efforts to do so are underway (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4746536,00.html).

      The non-Jewish Israeli citizenry is diverse and many are patriotic supporters of their country (http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/theres-only-one-country-in-the-middle-east-that-could-produce-a-soldier-like-me/).

      Finally, the souring of U.S.-Israel relations during the Obama presidency has been covered extensively. President Obama has been needlessly combative. (See, for example, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2015/10/28/dennis-ross-critics-were-right-about-obama-iran-and-israel/ and http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-obama-abandoned-israel-1434409772).

      For more on the benefits that accrue to the U.S via its special relationship with Israel, see my blog post: http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/10/u-s-israel-relationship-still-solid-despite-obama/.

      • MFE,
        Thank you for your response. I do believe that a correction is needed. I never said that no significant negotiations have occurred since Taba. What I wrote was:


        The closest that Israel and the Palestinians came to making a legitimate peace agreement were the Taba talks…Thus, there was no guarantee that whatever agreement was reached at Taba, that the next leaders would carry through with them. BTW, those leaders names were Ariel Sharon and George Bush. Also, why the Palestinians wanted to keep negotiating was that regardless of the land offered, what wasn’t offered was sovereignty, a sovereignty that could only come with a contiguous land mass in the West Bank.

        The above are the only two references to Taba I made.

        In addition, I could not reach the first haaretz link you provided.

        The times of Israel article on concessions made provided no link to any documentation showing those concessions. The adjacent link to the tower website produced a document not found.

        What I read of the link to your article is that Netanyahu was facing some political obstacles and repeat of an old all-or-nothing accusation of the Palestinians that they fail to miss an opportunity.

        In terms of confiscation of land, please see the following: the settlements themselves are illegal according to the UN. That Netanyahu, who, btw, went to a neighboring high school of mine, is not keeping pace with the past is no argument. This conficcation of 1,000 acres has occurred in both 2014 and 2016 (see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/world/middleeast/israel-claims-nearly-1000-acres-of-west-bank-land-near-bethlehem.html?_r=0 and http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/1/21/israel-to-seize-west-bank-land-demolishes-eu-structures.html ).

        And, btw, who determines whether the Palestinians have been building illegally in Area C? Israel does. In fact, if you read David Shippler’s book Arab And Jew, you will find that Arab citizens of Israel also have problems with building or renovating homes because of who controls the granting of building permits. Or if you go to educational funding, there is evidence of Aras’ 2nd class citizenship. Or we can ask this true/false question, are Arab citizens of Israel legally allowed to buy any land in Israel? But the primary proof is in the insistence of maintaining a Jewish majority in the nation (See https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20141125-jewish-state-law-furore-misses-the-point-israel-already-discriminates/ and https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20150326-beyond-the-ballot-box-how-israel-s-arab-voters-are-second-class-citizens/ ).

        I will respond to the rest of the links in your note later, but here is the real problem: tribalism. Those both those favoring the Palestinian cause and those favoring Israel’s current approach to Zionism have extreme difficulty in acknowledging the atrocities each side has visited on the other. And what else should we expect because in tribalism when what is right and wrong depends on who does what to whom? And many times, the fear for survival drives such tribalism. However, that isn’t the only factor. nationalism, pride, the lust for glory and riches also drive tribalism. And there isn’t one group on earth whose members are immune to it. This is a human problem.

        The other reality to tribalism besides its universality is its destructive nature. For to win in tribalism, one must risk either defeat by some kind of force or moral suicide. And in our present age, with the proliferation of WMDs being inevitable, our tribal battles in the Middle East endanger the whole world.

        Sor rather than trying to win a never ending king-of-the-hill battle, if we are to survive physically and morally, we have to find a new game to play. A game that relies on compassion, cooperation, and sharing. Thus, feeling entitled to land regardless of whether the entitlement comes from Zionism or freeing Palestine only insures a future distopia for all.

      • MFE,
        There is no doubt that some non-Jewish citizens of Israel are patriotic. There is no doubt there because almost group is diverse. And just as there are patriotic Arab citizens of Israel, there are Jewish curmudgeons in Israel. So if we are going to escape the tribalism that I mentioned in my last comment to you, we will listen to both groups. BTW, the link for the non-Jewish diversity line wasn’t working.

        As for Obama, regardless of the disagreements, he is still a strong supporter of Israel as seen in the aid and pledge of military support if Israel is attacked. In addition, the US has been a strong supporter of Israel when it comes to UN Resolutions. And we see that Obama is not encouraging Israel to submit itself under the jurisdiction of the ICC and with good reason. The US wants no part of being under its jurisdiction and works to protect its friends and allies being under its jurisdiction. And that is the problem, the US and Israel exhibit a gang mentality so that there is no admission of wrongdoing when military force is used or discriminatory laws are passed.

        Right now, with all of the alliances on each side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we have a tribalism, a gang mentality. And the conflict will never go away until we are willing to allow everyone to be judged under the same standards.

      • L_King

        One other minor detail: Day refers to the “Israeli confiscation of land this year”. I believe he is actually referring to the Israeli government’s expropriation of 234 hectares (578 acres) along highway 1 which was brought up at a US state department briefing earlier this year. The land in question, essentially desert has (apparently) been farmed by kibbutz Almog for the last 20 years and was never farmed or settled in recent history, if at all. It may also include the abandoned Better Place battery exchange station at the junction of 1 and 90. If this is indeed the case, then the parcel of land was taken from Jews, not Arabs.

        http://www.israellycool.com/2016/03/16/land-expropriation-seriously/

        If you are aware of an MFA document or announcement confirming this I’d appreciate hearing about it.

    • Byron Zaner

      Your opinions are interesting but not based on unequivocal fact. First, it is obvious that you have never been to Israel where freedom of religion is more important than it has become here.Second, in Israel what you call second class citizens is not at all the way anyone is treated who is a citizen. You try to sound sympathetic to the needs of Israel but you undertone is one of an anti-zionist and, in that an anti-semite.

      • Byron,
        First, does it matter if I’ve been to Israel if I talk to and read people who have been there?

        Second, the 2nd class label is not mine to give, but what many Arab citizens of Israel have said about their status.

        Third, before you call someone a racist, which is what you do when you call me anti-Semitic, please provide a precise definition of racist in this case. I say that because if demanding equality for either Arab citizens of Israel or Palestinians with Israelis is racist,, then I believe you have a skewed version of racism. If demanding such equality is anti-Zionist, then that says something about Zinon that is not positive. Should note here that much earlier in Israel’s venture, including the time before 1948, there were several kinds of Zionism. Now there is only political Zionism.

        In essence, what you tried to do without contesting any specifics that I mentioned. To me, that approach is authoritarian. For authoritarians determine truth not by facts and logic, but by credentials or the lack thereof.

        • Byron Zaner

          First, taking someone’s word and making it a fact is a very poor way of proving a point. Unless you can corroborate their opinion all you are spouting is your bias.
          Second, the second class label you got is also from someone who believes the same way you do and is, therefore nothing but your bias.
          Third, since you are using the word Zionist the way you do, you don’t even know the meaning of the word Zion. It is as defined at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Zion. it is a place, in essence another name for Israel. So Zionism is the reverence for the land of Zion.

          • Byron,
            First, what is the difference between relying on information read by those who’ve been there from relying on infromation heard by those who’;ve been there? For example, what is the difference between the sources I am relying on and listening to you? People can form quite accurate opinions by using direct sources–those who’ve been there.

            Second, the label comes from a multitude of people who believe something before I formed an opinion. Then what one does is look at the facts involved to see if their info is credible.

            Third, I gave no specific definition of the word ‘Zionist’ nor of the term ‘political zionist.’ In fact, I have documentation pointing to the fact that there were multiple kinds of zionists.

            Finally, all you have in your writing is to make accusations about me. Only those who have been there kinow what it is like and so since I’ve never been there, then I know nothing according to you. And if that is your logic, then no one, except those who’ve been there, can’t form an opinion. Now think about that logic in terms of a criminal trialcase. Only those who were there know what happened there. Witnesses and evidence become useless and no verdicts could ever be reached because only those who were there know what happened.

            You have yet to contradict any allegation/fact I’ve made. Instead, you have attacked me saying I am biased because you disagree with me. As I wrote before, you are taking the authoritarian’s way of discussing things. If that is the conversation you want, you talk to the mirror. If you want to discuss documentation, will be glad to oblige.

            Finally, remember this about Modern Zionism. It started in Europe because of horrible anti-Semitism that had occurred for almost 2,000 years. Also realize that it started in the 1800s. There is no argument that Jews needed a place for refuge. The argument is whether they acquired that refuge in a just way.

            And I forgot to add that your dictionary offered multiple definitions of the word ‘Zion.’ Unfortunately, we were discussing the word ‘Zionism.’ See http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Zionism

          • Byron Zaner

            let’s start from the end and work backwards. Zionism has not changed since its inception. A Zionist is one who thinks that the land of Zion is and has always been the home of the Jews. You can discuss what each group mite thin about that and venture your opinion on their views but Zionism is only 1 thing.

            When you visit Israel you will see that the interactions between all the people is very little different from interactions here. Some people here think that they are treated like second class citizens here but each one of has the same rights and privileges as any other citizen. Those that feel taken advantage of have not ventured into the world where they can wield their own influence. People of all races and backgrounds make up our government and business community at all levels. Israel is no different.

            Lastly, each of us has biases and tends to look at things through that filter. If you are on the scene it is still there but, opportunities for further thought present themselves on a continuing basis. What each of us does with them is different but, they will make a greater impact first hand than through a third party. I am saying that if you were to visit Israel you would have that exposure and it might change how you feel about what you are saying.

            I urge you to go to Israel.

          • Byron,
            Are you talking about the inception of modern zionism?

            Second, the integrity of a nation isn’t just measured by how its own people treated, it is also measured by how it treats others. Take the US for example, for most, and some would argue for all, of our history, the freedoms guaranteed in The Constitution were more-less guaranteed for white people. Even past the Civil Rights movement, there is a real question of whether those rights are being equally recognized for Blacks or Latinos. But take the time period before the Civil Rights movement. If we visited a White suburban neighborhood, we would get one picture of the US. However, if we visited a Black neighborhodd, we would a completely different picture of the US. IN addition, if we visited Iran after the coup we sponsored in 1953 or in Guatemala in 1954 or Greece in 1967 or Chile in 1973, we would get different pictures of the US as it had sponsored coups in each of those nations.

            Using the situation from the movie The Hunger Games as an example, if one visits the Capitol, one gets one picture of the situation while if one visited any of the Districts, one gets another picture.

            So while you tell me to visit Israel, I am telling you to listen to the voices of Israeli Arabs who say they are treated as 2nd citizens or to the voices of Palestinians as they have their land constantly taken away amongst other things. For if you don’t visit them, it will ny like you only visited the Capitol from the movie The Hunger Games and made up your mind from there.

            BTW, authoritarians think in black-white, all-or-nothing terms. And your view of Israel is no different.

          • Byron Zaner

            That is exactly why i urge you to visit and see for yourself. Your picture is skewed. I have been there and i visited all over the country. You are getting information for people who want you to have that bias. See it for yourself and you won’t have that opinion.

          • Byron,
            You totally missed my point because, according to you, my view is skewed. I would gladly say that my view isn’t perfect, but to say that it is skewed because it doesn’t match your view is wrong.

            So first, from a previous question I asked you: Are you talking about the inception of modern zionism?

            Second, did you visit Gaza and, if so, with whom? Did you visit the West Bank and, if so, with whom?

            Third, reread my last response. It seems that you are so focused on your current view that you did not understand what I just wrote.

          • Byron Zaner

            Curt,
            i am saying that your view is skewed because, yes, it is different from mine and i have been there.

            Zionism as with anything else, has only one beginning. the beginning of Zionism is in the bible.At that time Zion was the land surrounding Jerusalem because that was where the first temple was. Zion spread to ll the land inhabited by the Jewish people surrounding Jerusalem which was Israel or Zion.

            I did not visit Gaza or the West Bank because they are not part of Israel and they are not friendly with Israel and I am Jewish. It was part of Israel until Israel tried to trade land for peace. You see how far that got. The only land they want for peace is all of Israel. BTW, that is what a multitude of Palestinians say. That has nothing to do with Israeli citizens and their opinions. It has nothing to do with what we were discussing.

            i obviously don’t know what you said that i was supposed to understand and didn’t. What was that?

          • Byron,
            I know what you are saying. You’ve made an unsubstantiated claim that my view is skewed. And it is unsubstantiated because you have refused to engage in the claims I’ve made that are well documented in the public domain.

            And your no show to Gaza and the West Bank illustrates my point when I said that if you only look at selected groups of people, you will leave with one view of the society as opposed to visiting the stakeholders who are ill-affected by the same society, or , to be more precise, the government of that society.

            Also, you need to notice the vast differences between modern day Zionism and Israel’s initial entry into the Promised Land. While the latter contained a conditional occupation of the land, the condition was to follow God’s law, the latter was secularly based–to find a safe place where ethnic, not necessarily religious, Jews could be safe and feel at home. In other words, if the Israelites lived as today’s Israelis live, then they would have been exiled from the land.

            Here we should note that Christian Zionists believe a number of questionable ideas. One of them is that their belief in the two peoples of God necessiates a belief in two Gospels. The one Gospel, that is no gospel at all because it subjects one to following the whole law, would allow Israel to take possession of the land. The other Gospel allows believers in Christ to belong to the Jerusalem above. And the presence of these two distinct gospels is why the two peoples idea is questionable in termss of the Scriptures. There are other Biblical reasons to question the two peoples of God approach as well.

            Finally, you haven’t clue as tow what Israel was tryng to do with the land for peace deal. Below is a link that might help you understand what Israel was actually offering. BTW, the source is an Israeli one

            http://icahd.org/get-the-facts/matrix-control/:

          • Byron Zaner

            Curt,
            I wish you well. I know that your views differ radically from mine and there is no way to convince you to see things first hand or to see the other side of the arguments so go on taking opinions of people whose only wish is for Israel to be driven into the sea as fact.