US on settlements


In the current hullabaloo surrounding settlement construction, one side issue forced center stage is whether the US and Israel ever had tacit agreements on the matter.

Ron Dermer.
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimksi

At issue is whether there was an understanding with the Bush administration that even though the road map called for an end to all settlement construction, including natural growth, Washington and Jerusalem understood that this was not to be taken literally, and that there were certain qualifications that made continued construction possible.

Some, like former US national security adviser Elliott Abrams and Ariel Sharon’s bureau chief Dov Weissglas, have said that these understandings did exist. Others, such as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former US ambassador Dan Kurtzer, dispute this, saying that – as Clinton said – “there is no memorialization of any informal and oral agreements.”

For some, the issue is academic, of no real consequence now that there is a new administration in Washington which sees things radically differently than the previous one, and which can chart new policy.

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