US Efforts on Settlement Freeze Undermined By Bush-Era Secret Agreement

Very interesting story from Glenn Kessler and Howard Schneider:

The Obama administration is pressing the Israeli government to halt the expansion of Jewish settlements in Palestinian areas, U.S. and Israeli officials said, seeking a visible symbol of progress on peace that might inspire Arab states to consider normalizing relations with Jerusalem. The administration’s effort is being accompanied by greater willingness by U.S. lawmakers to complain publicly about settlements, but it has been complicated by an unwritten agreement on the issue between Israel and the United States reached during the Bush administration.

The stuff about congress becoming more criticial of the settlements is very interesting. In part, I believe it’s a testament to the fact that J Street was correct to calculate that a new group could change the game on Israel politics without needing to assemble anything close to the scale of AIPAC’s operation.