Tuesday, June 02, 2009

 

Is This President Just Afraid of Commitment?

Over at Soccer Dad, Daled Amos explores a good question: How Much Does Bush's Commitment To Israel's Settlements Count For Now?

“Based on the Constitution, it appears that the only obligation Obama has to honor the Bush letter is a 'moral' one--not a legal one.Based on the history of the fulfillment of US commitments to Israel, we have a problem.”

This caught my attention because of something the President said at his sit-down with Abbas:

“And so what I told Prime Minister Netanyahu was is that each party has obligations under the road map. On the Israeli side those obligations include stopping settlements. They include making sure that there is a viable potential Palestinian state.”Video and Full Transcript of Obama-Abbas Meeting (28 May) Enduring America

Clearly, this President thinks the Israelis are still bound by past commitments with previous presidents. In fact, as noted Israeli friend (at least when she's running for office) Secretary Clinton recently commented:

“With respect to settlements, the President was very clear when Prime Minister Netanyahu was here. He wants to see a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions. We think it is in the best interests of the effort that we are engaged in that settlement expansion cease. That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly, not only to the Israelis but to the Palestinians and others. And we intend to press that point.” Press Availability With Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit

But under what agreement or understanding is this Administration thinking the Israeli’s have to adopt such a restrictive policy? I do not believe the previous Administration – you know, the one that actually developed the road map Mr. Obama referenced - ever held such a narrow interpretation. Is this a new Obama Mideast Doctrine or does this reflect, as would befit a Harvard Law grad, his finding, within a writing, of a new meaning that even the original author wasn’t aware of? Maybe we should start to refer to it as a “living" roadmap.

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