Talking to ABC News’ George Stephanoupoulos in an interviewed aired earlier today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied the existence of any record of an alleged secret Bush-era deal with the Israeli government granting them a loophole out of their public, international agreement to halt settlement activity.
Meanwhile, to be clear about why this issue is important it’s not that a settlement freeze will bring about peace. Rather, it’s that any kind of realistic peace agreement will require the dismantling of many settlements. And if the Israeli government doesn’t have the willingness—or the political will—to so much as freeze expansion, then there’s no way they’ll be able to do the dismantling. And, similarly, if there are arguments which hold that freezing expansion is wrong or impossible on the merits, then those same arguments imply that the settlements can never go. That totally poisons the water for peace.