The White House isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to criticizing Israel’s new settlement plans, saying that “Israel broke its word.” The White House Press Secretary called out Israel and publicly rebuked the nation in response to the news that Israel is planning to expand settlements in the disputed West Bank.
According to the United States government, such plans may compromise regional peace and stability in the Middle East. Not to mention that by choosing to go ahead with such controversial settlement expansion plans, as Josh Earnest stated, Israel broke its word to the international community.
As CNN reports, it is uncommon for the United states to censure the actions of Israel so starkly, publicly or harshly. However, that’s precisely what happened on Wednesday.
According to the Press Secretary, Israel made “public assurances” that such a settlement wouldn’t be built in the West Bank. Further, Earnest criticized Israel for the nation’s current treatment of the United States by going through with plans to create a new Israeli settlement in the disputed West Bank. The creation of the controversial settlement will require current residents of Amona to be relocated; their homes will be razed to make way for new Israeli tract housing in the area.
While the U.S. stays that this development clearly indicates that Israel broke its words to the United States as well as the international community that relies on such agreements being honored to maintain peace, Israel has attempted to make amends for the nation’s expansion plans by “providing housing” to those Amona residents that end up being forcibly relocated to make room for the new Israeli settlement.
“We did receive public assurances from the Israeli government that contradict this announcement. I guess when we’re talking about how good friends treat one another, that’s a source of serious concern as well.”
According to the White House, the assurance that was given in regard to the proposed new Israeli West Bank settlements came from Benjamin Netanyahu over half a decade ago. In June 2009, the Prime Minister of Israel gave a public speech in which he addressed the expansion of Israeli settlements. At that point, he stated that further expansion of Israeli settlements would be discussed at a later time.
“The territorial issues will be discussed in a permanent agreement. Till then we have no intention to build new settlements or set aside land for new settlements.”
The U.S. seems to believe that Netanyahu’s previous statement means that last week’s settlement expansion announcement constitutes a breach of agreement in which Israel broke its word.
While the White House publicly claimed Wednesday that Israel broke its word, the Israeli government doesn’t see it that way. Rather than “undermining” Middle Eastern peace as alleged by U.S. officials, Israel claims that no word was broken. Indeed, according to Israel, the proposed West Bank tract housing doesn’t constitute new settlements at all; officials in Israel say that the proposed new West Bank housing is simply and expansion of existing settlements.
Despite assurances from Israel that they are keeping their agreement, government workers in the United States continue to insist that Israel broke its word. Mark Toner of the U.S. State Department reiterated that the proposed new West Bank housing, outside of recognized Israel proper, constitutes a new and unauthorized settlement in the disputed territory. According to Toner, not only did Israel break its word, the proposed new settlement compromises the possibility of a future Palestinian state.
“This settlement’s location deep in the West Bank, far closer to Jordan than Israel, would link a string of outposts that effectively divide the West Bank and make the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote.”
Wednesday’s surprising White House statement that Israel broke its word came just days after another controversial incident that some took as an insult to or slight against Israel. As USA Today reports, on September 30, the White House corrected the “official transcript” of Obam’s Shimon Peres eulogy to reflect that Jerusalem is not part of Israel, the official stance of the White House regarding the holy city.
While Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital city, neither the United Nations nor the United States recognize it as such. Rather, the city to belong to Palestine as well as Israel.
Not surprisingly, following the inadvertent blunder and correction, the alt-right went nuts. Breitbart immediately called out the Obama Administration for “denying” that Jerusalem is part of Israel, despite the fact that (according to the United Nations), Jerusalem is not part of Israel.
“Official U.S. policy refrains from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until the conclusion of final-status talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state, ostensibly incorporating eastern sections of Jerusalem.”
Wednesday’s statements from the mouth of the White House Press Secretary, in which it was unequivocally stated that Israel broke its word, underscored the unusually strained relations between the U.S. government and Israeli leadership at this time.
[Featured Image by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Shutterstock]