Friday, July 24, 2009

Somehow That 'Premature' Sounds Ex Post Facto or, Malice Aforethought

Jonathan Tobin notes:

And for those who continue to be in denial about the new atmosphere between Israel and Washington, let’s have an explanation for State Department spokesman Robert Wood’s statement on Tuesday night, according to which financial sanctions on Israel were merely “premature,” in case Israel did not bend to the administration’s will regarding building homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Premature? That is more or less the same way this administration has spoken about adopting tougher sanctions on Iran.



Talk of financial pressure on Israel to freeze settlement building is "premature," the State Department spokesman said.

Robert Wood was asked Tuesday whether the Obama administration was considering financial disincentives to resolve differences between Israel and the United States on settlement expansion.


QUESTION: Would U.S. be ready to exert some financial pressures on Israel to
convince the government to stop settlements?

MR. WOOD: Well, Sylvie [AFP reporter Sylvie Lanteaume], it's premature to talk about that.


What we're trying to do, as I said, right now is to create an environment which makes it conducive for talks to go forward. And as I said, Senator Mitchell is working very hard on this. And what we all need to do in the international community is support this effort, and that means Americans, that means Arabs and Israelis, to do what they can to kind of foster a climate in which the two sides can come together and negotiate their differences peacefully so that we can get to that two-state solution.

QUESTION: But Robert --

MR. WOOD: Yes.

QUESTION: Dan Meridor has said - that the agreement we had with the Americans is binding on us and them. And he added that they should keep to the agreement. He's calling the U.S. to keep to the agreement.

MR. WOOD: I think we've been very clear with regard to settlements. They need to stop, and that includes natural growth. I don't have anything more to add to that. The Israelis are well aware of our position. And we'll obviously continue to have talks with the Israelis on this subject and other issues, but our policy remains the same.

QUESTION: But they are continuing building in --

MR. WOOD: Well, I said, we're having --

QUESTION: -- Jerusalem.

MR. WOOD: -- discussions with our Israeli partners about this issue and a whole host of other issues related to the Middle East - Middle East peace. So that's about the best I can offer for you right now.

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