Trump's Envoy Was Not Wrong on Israeli Settlements

(Bloomberg) Eli Lake - Last week, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said: "I think the settlements are part of Israel" and that Israeli settlements comprise 2% of the West Bank's territory. Explaining UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted after Israel won the Six-Day War, Friedman said, "The existing borders, the 1967 borders, were viewed by everybody as not secure. So Israel would retain a meaningful portion of the West Bank - and it would return that which it didn't need for...peace and security." State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said last week that Friedman's remarks do not reflect a change in U.S. policy. Nauert is correct. They don't. The gist of what he said has more or less been U.S. policy for some time. The major Jewish population blocs in and around Jerusalem will remain part of Israel in any final status deal to create a Palestinian state. When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in 2005, as part of that negotiation, President George W. Bush wrote a letter, later endorsed by a congressional resolution, that acknowledged: "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."

2017-10-04 00:00:00

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