The Orthodox Union today expressed appreciation for the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship and the continued closeness of these ties. We especially appreciate the rapport between President Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as manifested by their meeting Monday at the President’s Crawford, TX ranch.
We applaud President Bush’s continuing commitment to the road map, which places first and foremost the obligation of the Palestinians to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, including disarming the terrorists, collecting illegal weapons, stopping missile attacks and smuggling of weapons, and ceasing all incitement to hatred by the Palestinian Authority and terrorist groups. This is the first and most necessary step upon which any hope for peace rests. We trust that when Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has his own visit with the President, that Mr. Bush will make that point perfectly clear to him as he and Secretary of State Rice have done in the past.
We welcome recognition by the President that Israel must have secure and recognized borders, that Israel can never return to the 1949 armistice lines, and that the major Israeli population centers and settlements in Judea and Samaria will remain part of Israel in any final settlement.
We believe that Israel, in making, painful sacrifices in an effort to achieve peace and security, has acted and continues to act in good faith. The Palestinian Authority must live up to the commitments it assumed when it accepted the Road Map. As President Bush said, “Defeating terror is the only way to build peace.”