Obama Administration Disavowed Agreement that Biden Administration Claims Israel Violated

(National Review) Elliott Abrams - On March 21, the Biden administration denounced a recent move in the Israeli Knesset as "a clear contradiction of undertakings the Israeli government made to the United States." This statement is astonishing and Americans should understand why. Between 2002 and early 2004, the George W. Bush administration found that all progress on Israeli-Palestinian issues was stopped dead by Yasser Arafat's corruption and his support of terrorism. I was serving at the time as the National Security Council's senior director for the Near East. In an exchange of letters on April 14, 2004, President Bush gave Prime Minister Sharon the support he needed to complete the Gaza withdrawal. Bush's letter made several important statements: that the U.S. would impose no new peace plan on Israel beyond what was already agreed; that the U.S. would "preserve and strengthen Israel's capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats"; and that the Palestinian refugee problem would not be solved by moving Palestinians to Israel. Bush also said that "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." In other words, Israeli settlements were realities, and the U.S. understood that in any final status agreement, Israeli borders would reflect their location. This formal exchange of letters was endorsed by the Senate by a vote of 95-3 and by the House by 407-9. Yet in 2009, the U.S., under the Obama-Biden administration, claimed that the 2004 exchange of letters and commitments was absolutely of no consequence and not binding. For the Biden administration to denounce Israeli action on the ground that it violates a commitment made by Israel to the U.S. is remarkably hypocritical. The Obama administration had already torn up any such commitment and turned the Bush-Sharon exchange into a pair of dead letters. The Biden administration should not be free to bash Israel for breaking commitments that the U.S. itself dismissed years ago. The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

2023-03-27 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive