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Obama Again Calls for Halt to Israeli Settlement Activity

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By Glenn Kessler
President Obama continued to press his administration's tough stance on Jewish settlements on the West Bank, telling reporters after a meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas this afternoon that Israel must halt all settlement activity in order to build momentum for peace.

Obama, who last week met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said "in my conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu, I was very clear about the need to stop settlements, to make sure that we are stopping the building of outposts ... to alleviate some of the pressures that the Palestinian people are under in terms of travel and commerce."

Obama noted that Palestinians also must improve security as part of their commitments under the 2003 "road map" peace plan, though he added the Palestinian Authority already had made "great progress" with the assistance of a U.S. general.

The road map plans commits Israel to dismantle settler outposts and freeze "all settlement activity," including what is know as "natural growth." But the near-daily barrage of U.S. demands that Israel halt settlement growth has surprised Israeli officials who argue that they greatly restrained growth under an unwritten 2005 agreement with the Bush administration. Under that deal, Israel was to stop providing incentives for settlers to move to the West Bank and built only in areas it expected to keep in future peace agreements.

But the continued growth even in those settlements -- and an unwillingness by various Israeli governments to dismantle outposts -- has left the impression in the Arab world that Israel would not agree to a peace deal. The Obama administration appears to have calculated that pressing Israel on settlements will help demonstrate to the Arab world that the U.S. is serious about pursuing peace, even at the risk of appearing to undermine Netanyahu's nascent government.

"Time is of the essence," Obama said. "We can't continue with the drift, with the increased fear and resentments on both sides, of the sense of hopelessness around the situation that we've seen for many years now. We need to get this thing back on track."

Netanyahu's coalition of mostly right-wing parties has erupted in anger at the demand to halt settlements. Israeli media has reported that he is trying to craft a compromise in which he would move forcefully against the illegal outposts, telling members of Parliament that it was the only way to win U.S. help on countering Iran's nuclear program.

Netanyahu has been a long-time skeptic of proposals to create a Palestinian state, and refused to commit to the concept during his visit to the United States.

By contrast, his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, pressed hard to strike a deal with Abbas. Last November, he offered to withdraw from 90 percent of the West Bank, while swapping 6.5 percent of the West Bank for 5.8 percent of the territory of Israel and establishing a corridor linking the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, according to an account recently given by chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to Agence-France Press. Holy places in Jerusalem would have shared sovereignty under that plan.

Abbas did not take the deal because Olmert did not answer questions about water and the treatment of refugees, Erekat said.

CBKEarlier Thursday, Abed al-Majid Dudin, a longtime Hamas leader accused of plotting fatal attacks in Israel, was killed during an exchange of gunfire after Israeli forces surrounded his West Bank home, an Israeli military official said.

A spokesman for Hamas -- which considered a terrorist group by the United States and Israel -- confirmed that Dudin was a commander in its armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Dudin's death "inflames the situation all over again," the Hamas official said, after months of relative quiet following Israel's military operation in Gaza last winter.

Correspondent Howard Schneider in Amman, Jordan contributed to this report.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 28, 2009; 7:16 PM ET
Categories:  Foggy Bottom  
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Comments

Do you actually think the Arabs will act honorably and honestly? Integrity is not a character trait I would associate with Arabs.
Posted by: shewholives
..

Do you actually think the Jews will act honorably and honestly? Integrity is not a character trait I would associate with Jews.

Do you actually think the Black will act honorably and honestly? Integrity is not a character trait I would associate with Blacks.

Do you actually think the Whites will act honorably and honestly? Integrity is not a character trait I would associate with Whites.
.
.
.
Dear shewholives, you can continue...


Posted by: mixedbreed | May 31, 2009 5:25 AM | Report abuse

Israel is blind, that's what the bible says, blind until the end of the times of the Gentiles. When one is informed how the contest will end, one acts on it. Israel, no matter the efforts to preserve it, will finally be swamped but the bible also says that a few Jews in Jerusalem will cry to Jesus; he will respond, not to maintain the Israel of the Law of Moses(the Ten Commandments) but to establish his kingdom in Jerusalem. How this will look to the world we're not told but in time the Nations(United?) will come against him. If one believes bible prophecy and the Promises one will have reason to rejoice because Jesus is our hope, the Messiah rejected and then embraced anew will reign forever.

Posted by: naahbob | May 29, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I respect and admire Israelis and Jews, and some aspects of Arab culture deeply trouble me. 9/11 not being the least of those.

But the settlements are a clear violation of international law and I can see no reason why the U.S. tolerates, much less subsidizes, them. It's hard to argue that we don't amply deserve a certain amount of the scorn Arabs heap on us over the issue.

As an American, I'm wondering: what's our self interest here? Besides the fact that Jews are great and democratic and have suffered horribly and Israel is a nominal ally that still sees fit to spy on us, what's the U.S. interest in supporting a huge violation of established international law?

You see, I'm neither Israeli nor Arab. I'm an American. So I'm worried about OUR interest here.

Posted by: nodebris | May 29, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

What are the odds Netanyahu launches his nukes against the White House?

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | May 28, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama is no fool. Israel has nothing to offer in the way of petroleum.
The trade imbalance with Asia and years of borrowing to pay for the Irag war have weakened our country's credit standing.
We are not in a position to anger Bush's friends, the Saudis. As repulsive as it might seem, they have us over the oil barrel.
We could drill the Gulf of Mexico dry and it wouldn't make a dent in our supply needs. The same goes for ANWR.
Think about that the next time you put the pedal to the metal in your gas hog S.U.V.

Posted by: seemstome | May 28, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame what Obama is doing to this country.

Posted by: dbonade | May 28, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Israel very tiny country in the middle of all Arab countries. The U.S. Americans have always partnered or supported Israel.
It seems we have another "Bush" in office. Remember Bush said he was going to democratize every middle east country? AND
now Pres.Obama is "DEMANDING" Israel to stop building. ISrael knows Iran wants to wipe them out, Hamas wants to wipe them out, for goodness sakes. Israel could give them everything and they will NOT stop killing/rocketing and worse. I say Israel has a right to do as they please with proper judgement and it is NOTHING BUT ONE MORE SICK SOCIALISTIC IDEA FOR OUR PRESIDENT TO KISS A*S OF THE ARABS. IF they all want Peace, they will achieve it...but they do NOT want peace w/Israel and Israel knows this. How come Obama doesn't know this??? A few dozen sad families in Gaza are in tents. Well guess what...the U.S. HAS HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE HOMELESS WITH NO TENTS, SLEEPING ON SIDEWALKS, UNDER BRIDGES ETC. WITH NO FREE DRUGS, ETC. Sorry families in Gaza, but I am sorry for the hundreds and hundreds in the U.S. and Obama should be more caring about Americans without house or food.

Posted by: journe | May 28, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

The Israelis do not want to stop activity and growth in the settlement area. Each passing day only strengthens the position of the incumbent inhabitants and magnitudes the potential drama of their eviction. If there is to be any meaningful hope for Peace, these settlements must start to be disbanded now, and if the Israelis remain intransigent and will not do it themselves, then a UN force with the widest possible base must undertake it.

Posted by: nickwib | May 28, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for Obama. No more Israeli settlements. No more rape of Palestine. No more land theft supported by MY country.
I suspect President Obama is ready for the zionist slander onslaught, and/or assination attempts. I voted for him because he has balls.
President Obama is the Greatest American president we have had in 50 years. God bless him for standing up for what's right.
God Bless America.
We are NOT the United States of Israel. We are the United States of America.
---- WE ARE AMERICANS! ----

Posted by: zcatcreative | May 28, 2009 7:43 PM
==========================

You are truly an idiot!!! Obama is neophite in almost every area but it is most glaring in foreign policy!! He is a dove among hawks!! Netanyahu will eat him for lunch while he deals with the terrorists in Palestine!!!
Greatest president??? What a stupid baseless statement!!
Obama....Balls??? Oxymoron!!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | May 28, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Racist screeds from Zionists can not change the facts.

The Arabs tried to destroy Israel and they lost. Israel decided that the loss entitled them to "settle" the land of the losers (after all, history was on their side, you win, you "settle").

Americans did this to their "Indians" time and again until we had all of the land they owned. We settled it. We were Pioneers after all.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see obama make demands on the muslim community, rather than just appease the muslims at the expense of Israel. The settlement question was contingent on palestinians stopping rocket fire into Israel. That has never stopped. Nor will it. Nor will the rest of the murderous ways of the muslim population of palestine. They continue to kill, and then accuse others of murder when they get hit back. They are fanatics. And by the standards of the law as I understand them, they are criminally insane. When they learn to raise their kids without hatred and murder on their minds, and how to live up to a level of civilised life that is acceptable to the rest of the world, then they will gain a place in the world. Until then, they are just garbage that will rot on the trash heap of history.

Posted by: hooey | May 28, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks God for Obama!!!Enough of that Jewish propaganda....Stop the settlements! I heard on CNN how bad Israelis are talking right now about VP Mrs.Clinton...The Russian media even predicting Mr.President's Obamas fall...like ex President's Mr.Clinton scandal with M.Lewinsky right after his harsh critics of Israel...I hope it wont happen.

Posted by: arunas98 | May 28, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Too bad for the Jews, the got their promised land after everyone started recording every detail of history.

They don't have the prerogative of the people of say New Zealand, or the American West.

The do not get to commit genocide and make up historical excuses and all that a century or so later.

They missed the boat.

These are not settlements. How can people even use that word? They conquered the Palestinians and they are taking their land away. We know this story. There is no fig leaf of time, this time.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 28, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

The sun set that evening
On Palestine.
When the sun rose, Israel.

Each day now,
The sun rises,
It is Israel.

What great power the sun has.

Posted by: khmaio | May 28, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for Obama. No more Israeli settlements. No more rape of Palestine. No more land theft supported by MY country.
I suspect President Obama is ready for the zionist slander onslaught, and/or assination attempts. I voted for him because he has balls.
President Obama is the Greatest American president we have had in 50 years. God bless him for standing up for what's right.
God Bless America.
We are NOT the United States of Israel. We are the United States of America.
---- WE ARE AMERICANS! ----

Posted by: zcatcreative | May 28, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Do you actually think the Arabs will act honorably and honestly? Integrity is not a character trait I would associate with Arabs.

Posted by: shewholives | May 28, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

And I thought there was already a Settlement on the Settlements!

That's un-settling! :-(

Posted by: SAINT---The | May 28, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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