April 24, 2008

Israelis Claim Secret Agreement with U.S. on Settlements

Bush is no different than any other president as he pushes for a legacy while robbing Israel of her sovereignty. Israel is even worse for electing a pantywaist like Olmert and by allowing a traitor like Peres to keep his sticky hands on the levers of power. In addition, Jewish towns are not settlements. They are: Jewish towns occupying legitimate Jewish territory. From Israelis Claim Secret Agreement with U.S. on Settlements:

A letter that President Bush personally delivered to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon four years ago has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president's efforts to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last year in office. Ehud Olmert, the current Israeli prime minister, said this week that Bush's letter gave the Jewish state permission to expand the West Bank settlements that it hopes to retain in a final peace deal, even though Bush's peace plan officially calls for a freeze of Israeli settlements.

In an interview this week, Sharon's chief of staff, Dov Weissglas, said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed this understanding in a secret agreement reached between Israel and the U.S. in the spring of 2005, just before Israel withdrew from Gaza. In a key sentence in Bush's 2004 letter, the president stated, "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." Weissglas said he then negotiated a "verbal understanding" with deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams that would permit new construction in those key settlements; Rice and Sharon then approved the Weissglas-Abrams deal.

U.S. officials say no such agreement exists, and in recent months Rice has publicly criticized construction on the outskirts of Jerusalem, which Israel does not officially count as settlements. National security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, at a news briefing in January, suggested that Bush's 2004 letter was aimed at helping Sharon win domestic approval for the Gaza withdrawal. "The president obviously still stands by that letter of April of 2004, but you need to look at it, obviously, in the context of which it was issued," he said.

Cross posted on Stop Raping Israel.