Obama and Netanyahu
Photo: AP

Officials: Obama made no vows to Netanyahu

White House officials deny earlier reports that US president sent prime minister letter guaranteeing support for Israel at UN, peace talks with Palestinians in exchange for two-month extension on settlement construction freeze

WASHINGTON - White House officials denied on Thursday reports that US President Barack Obama sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he vowed to support Israel in negotiations with the Palestinians in return for a two-month extension on the construction freeze in settlements.


The officials say the letter was just a draft being debated by diplomats representing Israel and the US, and that its content would only be implemented if agreed upon by both parties.


The strategy is familiar from the Gaza withdrawal, which was negotiated by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the previous US president, George W. Bush. At the time, the latter promised that the issue of the Palestinian refugees would not be solved within Israeli territory.


The current letter was described similarly by David Makovsky of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who reported that Obama had guaranteed that the US would not ask Israel for another extension on the construction freeze beyond 60 days.


"Rather, the future of settlements is to be settled at the table as part of territorial negotiations. Second, the letter promises that the United States will veto any UN Security Council initiative – Arab or otherwise – relating to Arab-Israeli peace during the agreed one-year negotiating period," he said.


"Third, Washington pledged to accept the legitimacy of existing Israeli security needs and not seek to redefine them. In this context, the letter explicitly mentions the need to ensure a complete ban on the smuggling of rockets, mortars, arms, and related items, as well as the infiltration of terrorists into Israel," according to Makovsky.



פרסום ראשון: 09.30.10, 20:13
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