In The Words Of Fred Armisen's Impression Of Joy Behar...
Senior Israeli officials accused President Obama on Wednesday of failing to acknowledge what they called clear understandings with the Bush administration that allowed Israel to build West Bank settlement housing within certain guidelines while still publicly claiming to honor a settlement “freeze.”
The complaint was the latest in a growing rift between the Obama administration and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over how to move forward to achieve peace in the Middle East. Mr. Obama was in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and is scheduled to address the Muslim world from Cairo on Thursday.
The Israeli officials said that repeated discussions with Bush officials starting in late 2002 resulted in agreement that housing could be built within the boundaries of certain settlement blocks as long as no new land was expropriated, no special economic incentives were offered to move to settlements and no new settlements were built.
Certainly an interesting proposition, that Bush lied to the world while making secret agreements. But no President is bound by the secret agreements of his predecessor. In context, it makes sense that Netanyahu was so confused, wondering if Obama really meant it when he said that he wanted construction to stop. But it makes no difference today what Bush and the Israelis conspired to create. The settlements violate international law and the obligations of the Israelis in the Middle East peace process. They need to be dismantled. But as a first step, the building needs to stop.