Settlement dispute overshadows summit

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 | 
When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met with President Bush at his Texas ranch, it was supposed to be an opportunity to give Sharon a boost amid fierce opposition at home to his Gaza withdrawal plan. But a dispute over the expansion of Israel’s biggest settlement, Ma’ale Adumim, overshadowed the summit. "Israel should remove unauthorized outposts and meet its 'roadmap' obligations regarding settlements in the West Bank," Bush told a news conference with Sharon at his side. "That's no expansion of settlements." The Ma’ale Adumim plan calls for building 3,500 housing units and connecting the community to nearby Jerusalem. Bush opposes the plan because it effectively cuts Judea and Samaria in half and blocks the territorial contiguity the Palestinians want for their future state.

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