Monday, December 20, 2010

Secret? Not Really. Wikileak Drip


Defense Minister Ehud Barak told French officials in Paris on June 15, 2009 that Israel has a "secret accord" with the US government to maintain the "natural growth" of settlements in the West Bank, revealed a WikiLeaks cable released on Sunday which quoted Middle East Director at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Patrice Paoli.


Oh, please.

Here's from the Bush letter to Sharon

...The United States understands that after Israel withdraws from Gaza and/or parts of the West Bank, and pending agreements on other arrangements...The United States is strongly committed to Israel's security and well-being as a Jewish state...In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.

It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities...

I think that continued Jewish presence in the territories is a principle.  Elliot Abrams has made that quite clear.:-

...most settlement activity is in those major blocs that it is widely understood Israel will keep. For another, those settlements are becoming more populated, not geographically larger. Most settlement expansion occurs in ways that do not much affect Palestinian life. While the physical expansion of settlements may take land that Palestinians own or use, and may interfere with Palestinian mobility or agricultural activity, population growth inside settlements does not have that effect. For the past five years, Israel's government has largely adhered to guidelines that were discussed with the United States but never formally adopted: that there would be no new settlements, no financial incentives for Israelis to move to settlements and no new construction except in already built-up areas. The clear purpose of the guidelines? To allow for settlement growth in ways that minimized the impact on Palestinians.

Sharon responded, in that connection:-

In this regard, we are fully aware of the responsibilities facing the State of Israel. These include limitations on the growth of settlements; removal of unauthorized outposts;...

"Limitation", yes. Banning, no. "Unauthorized" removed, authorized to stay.

It's clearer in Dov Weisglass' letter to Sec'y of State Rice:-

Dear Dr. Rice,

On behalf of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Mr. Ariel Sharon, I wish to reconfirm the following understanding, which had been reached between us:

1. Restrictions on settlement growth: within the agreed principles of settlement activities, an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. An Israeli team, in conjunction with Ambassador Kurtzer, will review aerial photos of settlements and will jointly define the construction line of each of the settlements.

'Construction line' means continued growth within one area and not in another.  Nothing more.

Are those French fools to believe that?

Is Barak less-than-smart to pander that?


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