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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

State Department refuses to say whether Obama will live up to Bush undertakings to Israel

This is from the portion of Monday's State Department briefing that discussed Israel (Hat Tip: IMRA):
QUESTION: In stating that all the concerned parties have obligations and the United States would like to see the parties meet those obligations, presumably you would agree with me that it is important that everyone clearly understand what the obligations are; yes?

MR. WOOD: I would agree with that.

QUESTION: The United States, in the form of a letter that President Bush sent to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004, made certain commitments to the Israeli state. I have tried to ask whether or not the Obama Administration feels bound by the commitments that President Bush expressed in that letter, which the Israelis would certainly feel comprise obligations on the part of the United States that we have made. Does the United States regard itself as – right now, as being bound by those commitments that President Bush made?

MR. WOOD: Look, what we are trying to do, James, is to get both parties to implement their obligations, written obligations in the Roadmap. We’re trying to get those implemented. Our vision for a two-state solution cannot happen if these obligations are not, you know, held to. And so what Senator Mitchell has been trying to do is to work with the two sides. Both sides have an interest in meeting these obligations. They both want peace. We have said we will be a partner in trying to help them implement them – implement their obligations.

QUESTION: What about the letter?

MR. WOOD: Well, I – look, I speak for this Administration. I’ve told you exactly what we are doing with regard to trying to get both parties to live up to their written obligations.

QUESTION: What about our written obligations? Do we live up to the ones that we set?

MR. WOOD: Look, we – the United States lives up to its obligations. Right now, we are focused on, as I said, trying to get both sides to adhere to the Roadmap so that we can move forward toward that two-state solution. And it’s not going to be easy, as you know. We’ve spoken to that many times. And we’re going to continue to try to do that.

QUESTION: Is the letter binding or not on this Administration?

MR. WOOD: Look, what I’m saying to you, James, is we have – there are a series of obligations that Israel and the Palestinians have undertaken.

QUESTION: I haven’t asked about their obligations and what they’ve undertaken. I’ve asked about a letter that this country sent to Israel. I’d like you to address that letter.

MR. WOOD: Well --

QUESTION: Is it binding on this Administration?

MR. WOOD: Well, this Administration is – as I said, has laid out its proposals, its strategy for moving forward. And that’s about the best I can help you with on that, James.

QUESTION: Does it entail that letter?

MR. WOOD: I’ve said what I can say on this right now.

QUESTION: Robert, do you realize that by not saying yes, indeed the U.S. Government continues to be bound by the letter that former President George W. Bush sent, you are leaving open in the air the possibility that it does not see itself as bound?

MR. WOOD: I don’t believe I’m doing that at all. What I’m saying to you is we have had a series of discussions with our Israeli and Palestinian partners. We’ve had discussions about their obligations and what both sides need to do. Both sides are well aware of what they need to do, and they know that we are trying to help them meet their obligations. And we’ll continue to do that.

And I’m just not going to get into the substance of what a previous administration may have agreed to. I’m focused on what this Administration is trying to do right now. And that’s where we are.

Okay, thank you all.
We're all still waiting for an explanation of why Israel has to live up to the 'road map' endorsed by the Sharon government (even though the reservations it made when approving it were never addressed), but the Obama administration doesn't have to live up to the commitments made by President Bush.

Double standard anyone?

(Anyone know who James is)?

By the way, he also 'no commented' the New York Times story about the US hanging Israel out to dry at the United Nations.


At 5:17 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel accepted the Road Map with reservations and only after President Bush clarified what would happen to the settlements and borders in the context of final status negotiations. This was a "package deal." Now the US is telling Israel only one part of the package is valid but the other part isn't? If the US doesn't see fit to abide by its undertakings, then neither should Israel be obligated to do so.

Its the principle of the thing, even though there is a double standard here.

At 5:19 AM, Blogger dashdotdash said...

James and another gentleman named Matt ask some very probing questions at the State Dept. briefings. I have called State and asked for the names of the press pool but I keep getting directed to an automated list of options and none of them will get you to that information. I, for one, would like to give these gentlemen a big Thank You.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Chaim said...

attendance at our Shabbat Kiddush is down due to the absence of all who voted for Barak Obama...yes...they are Jews who prough the message that the Gematria of his name was that of Mashiach.

Sheesh, when will this nonsense end...Kidushes are always better when attended by crow-eating zealots.


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