Powered by WebAds

Friday, June 26, 2009

Why Hillary Clinton has it wrong about the 'settlements'

On Thursday, I blogged an article by Elliott Abrams (pictured) in the Wall Street Journal, in which Abrams recounted the history of the US - Israeli understandings relating to 'natural growth' of the 'settlements' and the eventuality that the 'settlement blocs' would end up in Israeli hands.

Mrs. Clinton has largely been supported by Dan Kurtzer, the former US ambassador to Israel (whose brother lives in a 'settlement bloc'). Steve Rosen explains why Abrams got it right and Kurtzer got it wrong.
A little history here will help to explain the contradiction between Abrams and Kurtzer. Abrams and Steve Hadley, the Deputy National Security Adviser to Bush at the time, crafted the settlements growth understandings. Dan Kurtzer, then U.S. Ambassador to Israel, opposed them. He confirmed to Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post in April 2008, that he had opposed accepting an April 2004 letter from Sharon's chief of staff, Dov Weissglas, reconfirming U.S.-Israeli understandings that restrictions on the growth of settlements would be made "within the agreed principles of settlement activities," which would include "a better definition of the construction line of settlements" on the West Bank. Weissglas also confirmed that a U.S.-Israeli team would "jointly define the construction line of each of the settlements." Kessler reported, "Daniel Kurtzer, then the U.S. ambassador to Israel, said he argued at the time against accepting the Weissglas letter. 'I thought it was a really bad idea,' he said. 'It would legitimize the settlements, and it gave them a blank check.' But the White House did accept the Weissglas letter. In the end, Kurtzer said the White House never followed up with the plan to define construction lines. 'Washington lost interest in it when it became clear it would not be easy to do,' he said.

So these dueling op-eds by Kurtzer and Abrams are a continuation of a policy war withing the Bush Administration, a war that Kurtzer lost at the time but is trying to win now.

At The American Thinker, Ezra Greenberg sums up what Israel ought to learn from this story:
Now that President Obama has reneged on the issue of settlement growth, one must wonder whether other past assurances to Israel are also in jeopardy. President Obama appears willing to re-divide Jerusalem and in recent days has clarified that his demand against natural growth in the settlements includes areas of East Jerusalem, which most Israelis do not even consider to be part of the settlements.

Four years on, the supposed rewards that would accrue to Israel following her wrenching withdrawal from Gaza have completely vanished. America's new foreign policy makers do not want to be seen as meddling in Iran's internal affairs, but are happy to demonize half a million Jews living peaceful lives in their ancestral homeland. The sole positive development to emerge from the "disengagement" from Gaza in 2005 is that Israel's supporters now know that even the most painful concessions will not be reciprocated, and even by Israel's lone putative ally, because the false myths that drive the so-called peace process require constant concessions by Israel in return for illusive promises of peace.
Indeed. The problem is that even if Israel learns the lesson, it may learn it too late.


At 9:21 PM, Blogger Captain.H said...

"Now that President Obama has reneged on the issue of settlement growth, one must wonder whether other past assurances to Israel are also in jeopardy."

Yes they are, all of them.

From the moment Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in and George W. Bush left office, America ceased being a true ally of Israel. Hussein Obama is as hostile towards Israel as he is towards America.

At 9:26 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The world will not accept Israel's right to withdraw from committing national suicide. Sad and true.

Hopenchange, any one?

At 5:13 AM, Blogger SJ said...

You gotta admit Hasbara in the United States can be better.


Post a Comment

<< Home