According to the administration of US president Barack Obama, Israel has been building Jewish ‘settlements’ (that is, real communities, not outposts) throughout Judea-Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The Obama administration believes these ‘settlements’ have, pretty much, become the major obstacle to peace between Jew and Arab in the Middle East.
The problem the US has had with Israel isn’t simply Jewish ‘settlement’. It’s been Israel’s policy of settlement expansion that has the US concerned.
US Secretary of State John Kerry made this point very clearly in a speech just five days after the United Nations passed UN 2334. That Resolution delegitimized all Jewish settlement in Judea-Samaria, East Jerusalem and the Golan by labeling them ‘illegal’ (“Full text of John Kerry’s speech on Middle East peace, December 28, 2016”, timesofisrael, December 28, 2016). Kerry also reiterated the Obama position that ‘settlements’ destroy “hopes for peace” (ibid).
Kerry suggested that Israel’s ‘settlement’ issue has deteriorated to a point where action at the UN was necessary. He claimed Israel’s current coalition government (that is, Netanyahu), is driven by the most extreme elements in Israel (ibid). Kerry said the Netanyahu government was “more committed to settlements than any [government] in Israel’s history” (ibid).
In a moment, you’ll see why this claim is a lie. You might be shocked at what Netanyahu has actually been doing with ‘settlements’.
In his December 28, 2016 speech, Kerry was frustrated. He said, of the US, “We’ve made countless public and private exhortations to the Israelis to stop the march of settlements [emphasis mine]” (“If Israel has not been building settlements, why are the White House and media claiming it is”, daledamos, January 15, 2017). According to Kerry, the US didn’t just request a cessation of ‘settlement’ building. It didn’t discuss the need for Israel to stop expanding. It urged Israel to stop expanding. It became emphatic about Israel stopping this expansion. But through it all, Israel was deaf to every exhortation.
Apparently, it was this Israeli refusal to listen to the US that provoked the US to abstain from that UN 2334 vote. Supposedly, the US had no other choice.
White House advisor Ben Rhodes made this argument in a December 23, 2017 interview with Judy Woodruff of PBS (right after UN 2334 passed). UN 2334, Rhodes told Woodruff, was about Israeli ‘settlements’. He said, “These settlements are encroaching further and further beyond the separation barrier that the Israelis themselves built…Thousands of new settlements are being constructed [emphasis mine]” (Nick Bolger, “Ben Rhodes Falsely Claimed Israel Building ‘Thousands of New Settlements“, washingtonfreebeacon, January 13, 2017).
Rhodes’ point was, Obama wasn’t the villain here. He wasn’t anti-Israel. He wasn’t anti-Semitic. The US had acted as it had at the UN because Israel was the villain. It had become a single-minded ‘serial settlement builder’. The US simply could not allow such peace-killing behavior to continue any longer.
Therefore, we are to infer, what happened at the UN with 2334 wasn’t America’s fault. It was Israel’s fault.
There’s just one problem with this reasoning. It’s completely--and outrageously--false (David Gerstman, “Kerry’s latest peace making effort ends with a pffft”, legalinsurrection, January 16, 2017).
Here’s the shocking story of Netanyahu’s ‘settlement’ expansion. Since 2012, the Netanyahu government hasn’t built ‘thousands’ of settlements. According to the site daledamos, which cites the website of the anti-Israel NGO, Peace Now, the truth of Israel’s 'excessive, aggressive settlement expansion policy' is this: since 2012, Netanyahu has authorized three (3) new ‘settlements’ (“If Israel has not been building settlements, why are the White House and Media claiming it is”, January 15, 2017).
That’s right: not thousands of settlements, as Rhodes falsely claimed; just three (daledamnos, ibid). Apparently, for the US, these three ‘settlements’ are what makes Netanyahu more extreme than any leader in Israel’s history (Kerry speech, ibid). In fact, Netanyahu’s ‘settlement’ policy is the most modest among recent Israeli Prime Ministers (ibid).
The US position has been that (1) Israel builds ‘thousands’ of settlements (Rhodes); (2), the US has unsuccessfully issued countless exhortations to Israel to stop “the march” of these settlements (Kerry); and (3) Netanyahu has been egged on by Jewish extremists (Kerry). This entire position is a lie.
You should also understand that the ‘settlements’ the Obama administration rails against take up less than 2 percent of Judea-Samaria (daledamos, ibid). Building on that 2 percent of land is not a ‘peace-killer’—by any stretch of the imagination.
The Obama anti-‘settlement’ argument is bogus. It’s a fraud. It’s built on lies.
Barack Obama, John Kerry, Ben Rhodes and a host of other anti-Semites in the Obama administration have lied about Israel. They have acted treacherously against Israel. Now, the reign of this Obama ends (January 20, 2017). May the Obama Israel legacy prove disastrous for all who created it, supported it and used it against Israel.