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Obama ends push for Israeli-settlements halt
Strategy shift for Palestinian state
The diplomat said Palestinians have discussed their views openly with the Obama administration and other countries around the world.
“Of course, the ideal situation for us would be to do it in coordination with the United States and with the international community,” he said.
The Obama administration’s shift in some ways caps a particularly rocky period of U.S.-Israeli relations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to three Israeli officials familiar with the situation, asked for written commitments from Mr. Obama that Washington would protect Israel diplomatically inside the United Nations and other international forums from anti-Israel resolutions.
Before Mr. Obama’s election, U.S. diplomatic protection for Israel had long been a standard assumption of the bilateral relationship, as opposed to an inducement for Israel to freeze settlement construction.
“The inducements, they are still there,” the senior Israeli official said. “We are not asked to make any freeze, but it does not mean that the United States is not adhering to its commitment to prevent and object to unilateral motions in the international fora.”
The U.S. official declined to comment on the issue.
Elliott Abrams, a senior director for Near East and North African affairs for President George W. Bushs National Security Council, said, “We are not seeing a new approach. We are seeing the end of the old approach.”
He added, “One has to remember the Arabs had not ever insisted on such a precondition. This was something that was added by the administration and it proved to be disastrous.”
One of the first things the Obama administration did with regard to the peace process was to inform the Israelis that understandings forged under Mr. Bush that limited settlement expansion were no longer U.S. policy.
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