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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Did Obama just sign on to the Bush letter?

Remember the Bush letter from 2004 that acknowledged 'new realities on the ground' and promised that Israel could keep the 'settlement blocs'? Remember how the Obama administration caused so much bad blood with Israel by loudly rejecting the Bush letter? If Barry Rubin is reading Secretary of State Clinton's statement on the 'settlement freeze' correctly, the Obama administration just might have accepted the Bush letter in return for the freeze.

Here's what Hillary said:
Today’s announcement by the Government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements. Let me say to all the people of the region and world: our commitment to achieving a solution with two states living side by side in peace and security is unwavering.
Barry Rubin notes:
--“That reflect subsequent developments”: This is a fascinating and new phrase. What can it mean other than this: Since so many Jews have moved into settlements, this new factor must be taken into account in shifting the borders. This is the Obama Administration’s version of its predecessor’s idea that Israel could keep “settlement blocs,” large towns built up along its border like the Etzion bloc and Maale Adumim. It could also be applied to Jerusalem, though that sensitive word is not mentioned in the statement.


How will this statement be received in Israel? This raises a fascinating question: Was it coordinated with the Netanyahu government as part of the freeze deal? If so, the Netanyahu government has certainly proved itself to be flexible and peace-oriented. Certainly, there isn’t everything Israel wants in this statement yet it does encompass some important points taken out of the cabinet’s position on peace arrangements.
My guess is that there was a quid pro quo, but I look for the Obama administration to try to claim down the road that it made no commitment if that proves to be expedient. In any event, as Barry points out, this is going nowhere, because the 'Palestinians' won't agree to any border adjustments or any compromises at all. If your goal is to destroy the Jewish state, why would you agree to take steps that avoid making another 500,000 Jews homeless?

Read the whole thing.

More about the Bush letter here.


At 3:05 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The point is the Palestinians won't agree to anything in the Clinton statement. They have no intention of making a compromise peace or negotiating with Israel. For that reason, a Palestinian state is not going to happen any time soon.


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