WikiLeaks: Does Israel have a deal with US to keep settlements?

Thursday, December 23, 2010 |  Ryan Jones

According to some of the most recently published US diplomatic cables by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, Israel might have a secret understanding with the US to maintain growth in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (so-called Jewish “settlements”).

One of the documents has Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak telling French officials in Paris in 2009 that Israel has a “secret accord” with the US government that allows “natural growth” in the settlements to continue.

The French officials cited were apparently miffed by the Israeli position and the possibility of an Israeli-US understanding on the issue.

In another document that was part of the same release, French President Nicolas Sarkozy stressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the two men met in Paris in 2009 that Israel has run out of time and must meet Arab demands.

“You think you’re stronger than the Palestinians, but you’re not,” Sarkozy was quoted as saying. “There is a single door and it is imperative to move through it now.”

In a separate but related series of cables, US diplomats at the embassy in Tel Aviv cautioned that Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are “fraying.”

The cables noted what many in Israel have long known - that Israel is officially at peace with the governments of Egypt and Jordan, but the majority of the populations in both countries continue to view Israel as an enemy. Were either Jordan or Egypt to experience a coup, they would likely resume hostilities against the Jewish state.

In an interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that his website had so far only published about two percent of the diplomatic cables dealing with Israel, and that there is much more to come.

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