Fox Spies Nonexistent "Slap" In Obama Admin's Restatement Of Long-Standing Israel Policy

››› ››› HARDEEP DHILLON

Fox Nation claimed that the Obama administration had "slap[ped]" Israel by issuing a statement that it was "deeply concerned" over the continued building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In fact, according to President Bush's ambassador to Israel, "Every U.S. administration since 1967 has argued strongly against Israeli settlement activity."

Fox Nation: "Obama Slaps Israel Again"

Fox Nation Condemns Obama Administration's Supposed "Slap" Against Israel. Fox Nation reprinted the beginning of an Associated Press article and used the headline: "Obama Slaps Israel Again."

[Fox Nation, 3/14/11]

State Department Was Actually Criticizing Israel For Approving Additional Settlements. From the AP:

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv said Monday it was "deeply concerned" by Israel's plans to build hundreds of new homes in the West Bank following a deadly attack on a settler family, calling Israeli settlements "illegitimate" and an obstacle to peacemaking.

[...]

"We're deeply concerned by continuing Israeli actions on settlements in the West Bank," the statement from the U.S. Embassy said. "As we said before, we view these settlements as illegitimate and as running counter to efforts to resume direct negotiations."

Just last month, the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction. The U.S. said it agreed with the wider world about the illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity but thought Israelis and Palestinians should resolve key conflicts between them, and the council wasn't the proper venue for the dispute. The council's 14 other members voted in favor of the resolution.

A senior Israeli official responded to the U.S. criticism by reasserting Israel's expectation that the major settlement blocs, where most of the 300,000 West Bank settlers live, will remain in Israeli hands under any final peace accord. [Associated Press, 3/14/11]

U.S. Has Long Been Critical Of Israel's Settlement Plans

In 2005, Condoleezza Rice Reportedly Stated That Israeli Settlement Plan Was "At Odds With American Policy." In a March 2005 interview with the Los Angeles Times, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that Israel's plan to expand its settlements in the West Bank at the time was "at odds with American policy." From the Times:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized Israel in unusually sharp terms Thursday, warning that its plans to expand an Israeli West Bank settlement was "at odds with American policy" and could threaten progress toward peace with the Palestinians at a critical moment.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rice said Israeli explanations of plans to add 3,500 housing units to the Maale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem were "not really a satisfactory response." [Los Angeles Times, 3/25/05]

President Bush: Israel Must "Get Rid Of Unauthorized Settlements." Before a three-day visit to Israel in January 2008, then-President Bush stated that he expected Israel to "get rid of unauthorized settlements":

Q Unauthorized settlement, it is something which -- an issue which is between the United States and Israel for a long time.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we expect them to honor their commitments. The Israeli government has said that they're going to get rid of unauthorized settlements, and that's what we expect. That's what we've been told.

Q Not before you come, you know.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that will be on the -- that will, of course, be an agenda item. But Prime Minister -- both Prime Ministers with whom I have worked understand our position. Both have agreed, by the way, of unauthorized settlements. [Bush White House archives, 1/2/08]

Bush's Ambassador To Israel: All U.S. Administrations Have "Argued Strongly Against Israeli Settlement Activity." In an essay published in Middle East Policy, Princeton Middle Eastern Policy Studies professor Daniel Kurtzer, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel under President Bush, wrote: "Every U.S. administration since 1967 has argued strongly against Israeli settlement activity." [Middle East Policy, Spring 2009]

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National Security & Foreign Policy
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