During his speech today, President Obama reiterated standing U.S. policy that the expansion of Israeli settlements in Palestine must be ended. “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop,” he said.
On MSNBC this afternoon, former Vice President Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney, argued that Obama’s insistence that Israel freeze settlement expansion goes “much further” than the Roadmap to Peace negotiated by the Bush administration in 2002:
MITCHELL: Can you clarify at all a dispute some or among former Bush administration middle east experts and officials as to whether there was a secret promise or an agreement with Israel that Israel could proceed with settlement expansion to accommodate population growth?
CHENEY: It is a very complicated issue and the Road Map does talk about settlements. … But there’s the issue of, in existing settlements, if a family has a baby, are you allowed to build another room in the house? … I think there’s no question that this White House has gone much further in saying to the Israelis, “you must absolutely stop all of it.” And without, in my view, being as demanding of the Palestinians in terms of the security side of this equation.
Cheney is right to note that the Road Map to Peace — negotiated while she served in the Bush administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs — “does talk about settlements.” But she apparently doesn’t recall that when the Road Map talks about settlements, it is in the context of clearly stipulating that the Israeli government must freeze all settlement expansion — “including natural growth.” From the Road Map:
Cheney did not address a reported secret deal between former President Bush and Israel allowing some settlement expansion, despite being asked about it by host Andrea Mitchell:
Additionally, it is simply false to say that the Obama administration is not “being as demanding of the Palestinians” with regard to the security of Israel and its citizens. In his speech this morning, Obama made it clear that the U.S. would accept nothing less than full renunciation of violence in pursuit of political objectives on the part of the Palestinians:
Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That’s not how moral authority is claimed; that’s how it is surrendered.
At another point in the interview, Cheney repeated Eric Erickson’s false claim that Obama equated conditions for Jews during the Holocaust with conditions in Palestine today.