Kerry & Obama Agree Settlements Must Be Stopped, But What Are They Going to Do About It?

Speaking yesterday about his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama appeared to call for a settlement freeze:

OBAMA: Now, Israel is going have to take some difficult steps as well. And I shared with Prime Minister the fact that, under the road map, under Annapolis there’s a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements, that settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward. That’s a difficult thing to recognize, but it’s an important one. And it has to be addressed. I think the humanitarian situation in Gaza has to be addressed.

Satyam Khanna reminds us that “Speaking to AIPAC last month, Vice President Biden and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) also called on Israel to freeze settlement activity.”

But of course Obama and Biden and Kerry aren’t just bloggers. They’re the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, and the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, respectively. And the United States isn’t a country that lacks leverage or influence over Israel. And yet I see absolutely no sign that the Israeli government is contemplating any kind of settlement freeze. So the question becomes what does the administration intend to do? Making sharp, to-the-point observations about the situation is nice. But the President has a harder job than I do. He can’t just say that “settlements have to be stopped,” he has to find a way to make it happen.