In a visit to the Arab Gulf state of Qatar Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the US has not backed down on demanding that Israel end its expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank – despite earlier statements by US President Barack Obama that the US was willing to compromise on the issue.
When Obama became US President in January 2009, he made a strong demand that Israel end all settlement construction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Several months later, after tremendous pressure from Israel and the Likud-Zionist lobby in the US, Obama said that he was wrong to have demanded so much, and would leave the matter open for review during negotiations. Following that pronouncement, settlement construction by Israeli and US settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem exploded, with hundreds of new foundations laid and thousands of new units approved for construction by the Israeli government.
All Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land are illegal under international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.
According to the Arabic news service Al Jazeera, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, ‘Our position is that settlement activity is illegitimate, and that the final resolution of borders has to be worked out that will give both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, the secure borders that they deserve to have’.
Clinton failed to address the fact that Israel has demanded full control over all borders of a Palestinian ‘state’ (which itself would be divided into multiple enclaves with Israeli control of all borders and in between the ‘statelets’ making up the Palestinian ‘state’), a condition which has rendered the so-called ‘two-state solution’ unachievable.
She added that the so-called ‘two-state solution would be based “on the 1967 lines, with the agreed swaps, and taking into account subsequent developments,’ again ignoring the fact that Palestinian people whose land was stolen to create the state of Israel upon it have never agreed to ‘land swaps’, and have instead demanded a geographically contiguous state with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of the nearly 10,000 Palestinian detainees, and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had accused the US of backing down on its call for a settlement freeze. He backed his claim on the statements of President Obama, and the continued US aid to Israel, which has increased despite Israel’s refusal to implement a freeze.
A spokesperson for President Abbas, Nabil Abu Rdainah, said that the Palestinian Authority submitted a proposal to the US negotiating team, but have yet to receive a response. He added, ‘We have told the Americans we are ready for proximity talks but we want answers to certain questions.’