Avid Editor's Insights

US Ducks Bush Support for Jewish Cities in Yesha

Posted by Glezele Vayne on June 3, 2009

BS”D

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

(IsraelNN.com) The U.S. State Department Tuesday refused to state whether the Obama administration will honor a promise by the previous government that Israel will retain sovereignty over large Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria, in the event that a new Palestinian Authority state is created.

Then-President George W. Bush wrote former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004, “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.”

Sylvie Lucas, President of the Economic and Social Council, charged that the refusal of the United States to state whether it is backing the commitment is problematic because “we are continually calling, for example, on the Palestinians – all factions of the Palestinians – to abide by the commitments that previous Palestinian governments have made. And yet you stand at that podium unwilling to declare whether or not the United States feels obligated to abide by the commitment that a previous United States government made.”

The question of whether U.S. President Barack Obama will honor the letter was raised at the State Department’s daily press briefing last week. Spokesman Ian Kelly replied, “That’s an excellent question…and I’ll get you the information on that.”

Spokesman Robert Wood dodged the issue Monday but was cornered on Tuesday by Lucas, who verbally sparred with him. [Questions and answers on the letter are located at 29 minutes after start of video.]

Wood repeatedly answered Lucas, “What I tried to say yesterday, and I’ll try and say it again today, is that we are working with the two parties to implement their Roadmap obligations….We’ve been extremely clear about that.”

Pressed by Lucas, who asked, “So it means you are not bound by this letter?” Wood replied, “What I said, Sylvie, was we are working with the two sides to help them implement their Roadmap obligations.”

Lucas tried again: “Why don’t you want to say if you are bound or not? I don’t understand.”

Wood: “I’m saying what I’m saying.”

Lucas: Well, you are not answering.” As others at the session laughed out loud, she asked, “I don’t understand why you don’t want to say it.”

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From Schmoozing with Elya & Ellie Katz

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