Sunday, May 24, 2009

America Isn't Impartial Peace Broker

WaPo revealed a secret letter from U.S. President George W. Bush to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The story stated:

The Israeli government is relying on "understandings" between former president George W. Bush and former prime minister Ariel Sharon that some of the larger settlements in the occupied West Bank would ultimately become part of Israel, codified in a letter that Bush gave to Sharon in 2004. In an interview with The Washington Post last year, Sharon aide Dov Weissglas said that in 2005, when Sharon was poised to remove settlers from Gaza, the Bush administration arrived at a secret agreement -- not disclosed to the Palestinians -- that Israel could add homes in settlements it expected to keep, as long as the construction was dictated by market demand, not subsidies.
Elliott Abrams, a former deputy national security adviser who negotiated the arrangement with Weissglas, confirmed the deal in an interview last week. "At the time of the Gaza withdrawal, there were lengthy discussions about how settlement activity might be constrained, and in fact it was constrained in the later part of the Sharon years and the Olmert years in accordance with the ideas that were discussed," he said. "There was something of an understanding realized on these questions, but it was never a written agreement."
Secret agreement, never disclosed between two leaders no longer in power? It partly explains U.S. haplessness in getting Israel to control settlement growth over a decade. But it's damning for America, a country wanting badly to sell itself as an impartial peace broker for the region. Israel clearly doesn't want peace, as the Arab League peace plan lingered since 2002.

Update 2-4-2017:  Eight years later non-interventionist President Donald Trump may appoint neocon Elliott Abrams as number 2 for the State Department.  Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is number 1.