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Olmert Says Obama Team Is Lying

A few weeks ago, Elliott Abrams called out the Obama administration for re-writing the history of U.S.-Israeli agreements on the settlements. Now Ehud Olmert steps forward to do the same. He writes:

– No new settlements would be constructed.

— No new land would be allocated or confiscated for settlement construction.

— Any construction in the settlements would be within current building lines

— There would be no provision of economic incentives promoting settlement growth.

— The unauthorized outposts built after March 2001 would be dismantled (a commitment that Israel, regrettably, has not yet fulfilled).

These understandings provided a working platform and, in my opinion, a proper balance to allow essential elements of stability and normality for Israelis living in settlements until their future would be determined in a permanent-status agreement. I adopted these understandings and followed them in close coordination with the Bush administration.

Moreover, during the run-up to Annapolis and in meetings there, I elaborated to the U.S. administration and the Palestinian leadership that Israel would continue to build in the settlements in accordance with the above criteria.

Let me be clear: Without those understandings, the Annapolis process would not have taken on any form. Therefore, the focus on settlement construction now is not useful.

He goes on to recap his peace settlement offer in 2008:

It would be worth exploring the reasons that the Palestinians rejected my offer and preferred, instead, to drag their feet, avoiding real decisions. My proposal would have helped realize the “two-state solution” in accordance with the principles of the U.S. administration, the Israeli government I led and the criteria the Palestinian leadership has followed throughout the years.

Olmert has in essence called out the Obama administration for reneging on U.S. commitments and misrepresenting recent history in order to pursue its misguided and wholly unproductive focus on the settlements. We now have both sides of the relevant history corroborating the applicable understandings and making clear that were it not for the U.S. assurances, Israel would not have proceeded with discussions (however unproductive) at Annapolis. And by bringing up the latest instance of Israeli peace gestures, Olmert strikes at the heart of Obama’s fractured history — the false premise that settlements, rather than Palestinian violence and rejectionism, are the main impediment to lasting peace.

The Obama administration took a gamble — banking that they could recast history to suit their ends. But now their version of history, one-sided and false, has been revealed. They have sacrificed credibility and the trust of our one true ally. And for what? They have simply encouraged the very same rejectionism that is at the root of the stalemate.

It is time for the Obama team to engage in some serious self-reflection and examine the damage done by reneging on agreements and by fabricating history. That might be a good topic of discussion next time Jewish American “leaders” convene in the White House.



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