[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:
"And there is a tendency to try to parse exactly what this means, but I
think the parties on the ground understand that if you have a continuation
of settlements that, in past agreements, have been categorized as illegal,
that's going to be an impediment to progress."
OK. So he is president of the United State of America. And you are drawing
a salary and don't want to tick off the boss by correcting him.
But why isn't there someone on his team - or someone from the outside who
has access to him - who can explain to him that there are no "past
agreements" that categorize the settlement activity as "illegal".
That's "agreements". The Roadmap wasn't an agreement. Nor was the Annapolis
"Joint Understanding on Negotiations." The only "agreements" are the series
of Oslo "agreements" and none of them categorize any Israeli settlement
activity as "illegal"
In point of fact, the only construction activity that is illegal in the Oslo
agreements is Palestinian construction that is in violation of various
mostly security related restrictions.
Hey wait a minute.
How about the folks at AIPAC explaining this?
Better yet - why aren't Israeli officials pointing out the error?]
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 15, 2009
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
AND PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI OF ITALY
IN PRESS AVAILABILITY
5:48 P.M. EDT
...Q Thank you, Mr. President. Of the conditions that Prime Minister
Netanyahu laid out yesterday for a Palestinian state, the basis for
negotiation, do you think they will likely prove a stumbling block, given
the broadly negative reaction from the Arab states and the Palestinians?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think it's important not to
immediately assess the situation based on commentary the day after a speech.
I think any time an Israeli Prime Minister makes a statement, the immediate
reaction tends to be negative on one side. If the other side is making a
statement, oftentimes the reaction is negative in Israel.
Overall, I thought that there was positive movement in the Prime Minister's
speech. He acknowledged the need for two states. There were a lot of
conditions, and obviously working through the conditions on Israel's side
for security, as well as the Palestinian side for sovereignty and
territorial integrity and the capacity to have a functioning, prosperous
state, that's exactly what negotiations are supposed to be about. But what
we're seeing is at least the possibility that we can restart serious talks.
Now, I've been very clear that, from the United States' perspective,
Israel's security is non-negotiable. We will stand behind their defense.
I've also made very clear that both sides are going to have to move in some
politically difficult ways in order to achieve what is going to be in the
long-term interests of the Israelis and the Palestinians and the
On the Israeli side, that means a cessation of settlements. And there is a
tendency to try to parse exactly what this means, but I think the parties on
the ground understand that if you have a continuation of settlements that,
in past agreements, have been categorized as illegal, that's going to be an
impediment to progress. On the Palestinian side, whether it's the
Palestinian Authority or other groups like Hamas that claim to speak for the
Palestinians, a recognition of the Quartet principles, ensuring that there's
a recognition of Israel's right to exist, making sure that past agreements
are abided to, that there's an end to incitement against Israel and an end
to violence against Israel. Those are necessary pillars of any serious
agreement that's to be reached.
And those pillars have to be supported by the Arab states, because Israel's
security concerns extend beyond simply the Palestinian Territories; they
extend to concerns that they have in a whole host of neighbors where there's
perceived and often real hostility towards Israel's security. So I'm glad
that Prime Minister Netanyahu made the speech. The United States will
continue to try to be as honest as possible to all sides in this dispute to
indicate the degree to which it's in everybody's interests to move in a new
direction. And I think it can be accomplished, but it's going to require a
lot of work and a partnership with key countries like Italy in order to help
the parties come together and recognize their own interests.
6:29 P.M. EDT