In the midst of the upheaval regarding President Trump’s travel pause, as well as Senator Schumer recovering from his crying act to place roadblocks in front of cabinet nominees and a threat to filibuster Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, there was one Trump action that received little news and what it did get was unfairly negative. When read with objective eyes, the Trump Administration’s statement on “settlements” was the most pro-Israel statement on settlement communities ever.
The statement released Thursday evening was unusual for both what it said and what it didn’t say:
“The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”
The immediate reaction by the liberal media was see Trump had to get tough with Netanyahu. The NY Times even wrote an article under the headline, “Trump Embraces Pillars of Obama’s Foreign Policy.’ And from the pro-Israel community the reaction was OMG Trump is taking a giant step backward from his campaign position. Both positions are wrong.
Look at what the statement said:
“we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace”
Obama felt so strongly settlements were an impediment to peace that he made it a bigger issue than the Palestinians did, and in 2009 broke an agreement between Israel and the U.S. allowing Israel to build in existing settlements as long as they didn’t expand the land they were on.
Obama used his belief that settlement communities were an impediment to peace as his rationale abstaining from an anti-Israel UNSC resolution during the lasts weeks of his administration.
It cannot be emphasized enough, this is the first time any U.S. President declared that the settlements were not an impediment to peace. Even Bush #43 who cut a deal with Ariel Sharon that he wouldn’t complain about building in settlement communities as long as they didn’t involve new land, did not go as far as saying they weren’t an impediment to peace.
“the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”