A senior Israeli official at the weekend suggested that the Biden Administration was acting hypocritically by summoning the Israeli ambassador to Washington over a new law that would ostensibly permit Jews to again settle northern Samaria.
It was the first time in over a decade that the White House had summoned an Israeli ambassador for reprimand.
Last week Israel passed new legislation that partially repealed the 2005 Disengagement Law, in particular the part that mandated the evacuation of four Jewish settlements in the northern part of Samaria, what the world calls the “West Bank.”
The US State Department insisted that in so doing Israel had violated commitments made by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to then-President George W. Bush, namely to clear northern Samaria and the Gaza Strip of Jewish settlement to make way for a contiguous Palestinian state.
But the official who spoke on Friday to reporters traveling with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to London noted that Washington had also made commitments to Israel, and that it had long ago broke its word.
In a series of letters between Sharon and Bush in 2005, the US president agreed to recognize and support Israel’s claim to large blocs of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria as part of any final status peace agreement. In Jerusalem this was taken to mean that the Americans would stop condemning Israel for building in these settlement blocs since they were going to remain part of the Jewish state.
But that wasn’t the case.
“They can’t come and force us to stay committed after they essentially abandoned the policy that Bush said… in exchange for the disengagement, they were supposed to accept unrestricted building in the settlement blocs,” stressed the Israeli official.
During the Obama Administration and the Biden Administration up until this point, Washington has routinely pressured Israel against building homes for Jews on any land claimed by the Palestinian Arabs, including established settlement blocs.
Also of note is that the letters exchanged between Sharon and Bush spoke of American security guarantees should Israel leave Gaza and the coastal territory subsequently be used to attack the Jewish state.
As we all now know, Gaza was quickly taken over by Hamas and used repeatedly as a base for rocket attacks on southern Israel. And Israel’s military responses to those attacks were roundly criticized, and often outright condemned, by the Americans, who did nothing to “guarantee” Israeli security in the wake of the disengagement.
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