Pro-Israel Democrats have loudly proclaimed that their candidate, Hillary Clinton, is a strong supporter of Israel. They have even stated that her pro-Israel positions are really not that dissimilar to the Republican President George W. Bush.
“Settlements” and Berating Israel
A new batch of emails from Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State reveals some of her positions related to Israel and her approach to dealing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Consider the email exchange between Hillary Clinton and Sandy Berger on September 19 & 22, 2009.
“ironically, his [Netanyahu’s] intransigence over 67 borders may offer us [the Clinton’s State Department] that possibility – to turn his position against him… Sending [Middle East Peace Envoy George] Mitchell back to try to get the parties to agree on a common basis to relaunch negotiations. This includes: an end to the occupation that began in 1967. –– This 67 formulation was used in the Road Map, by Bush, Sharon and Olmert. Assuming Bibi will accept no formulation that includes 67 borders, it suggests that Bibi is the obstacle to progress and backtracking on his part on an issue that previous Israeli governments have accepted.”
The Clinton/Berger plot was clearly to undermine Netanyahu to punish him for disagreeing to set the borders that existed in 1967 as the permanent borders. They viewed those borders as concessions that had been previously agreed to.
But look at what President George W. Bush and the US Congress actually stated five years earlier on June 23, 2004.
“Whereas in the April 14, 2004, letter the President stated that in light of new realities on the ground in Israel, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, but realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities;”
This House of Representatives motion, H. Con.Res 460, was passed in a landslide roll call vote 407-9.
Note that Bush clearly stated the opposite of what Clinton and Berger contended: prior agreements and assurances that the borders would NOT be along the Green Line which existed until 1967.
Further, the April letter from Bush to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon underscored that the pathway to peace and a two-state future was the cessation of all Palestinian incitement to, and acts of violence.
“The United States appreciates the risks such an undertaking [Israeli withdrawal from Gaza] represents. I [President George W Bush] therefore want to reassure you on several points.
First, the United States remains committed to my vision and to its implementation as described in the roadmap. The United States will do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan. Under the roadmap, Palestinians must undertake an immediate cessation of armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere, and all official Palestinian institutions must end incitement against Israel. The Palestinian leadership must act decisively against terror, including sustained, targeted, and effective operations to stop terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. Palestinians must undertake a comprehensive and fundamental political reform that includes a strong parliamentary democracy and an empowered prime minister.
Second, there will be no security for Israelis or Palestinians until they and all states, in the region and beyond, join together to fight terrorism and dismantle terrorist organizations. The United States reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.
Third, Israel will retain its right to defend itself against terrorism, including to take actions against terrorist organizations. The United States will lead efforts, working together with Jordan, Egypt, and others in the international community, to build the capacity and will of Palestinian institutions to fight terrorism, dismantle terrorist organizations, and prevent the areas from which Israel has withdrawn from posing a threat that would have to be addressed by any other means. The United States understands that after Israel withdraws from Gaza and/or parts of the West Bank, and pending agreements on other arrangements, existing arrangements regarding control of airspace, territorial waters, and land passages of the West Bank and Gaza will continue. The United States is strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state. It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel. “
Bush focused on the cessation of Palestinian Arab terrorism and incitement, as he underscored that Israel would NOT return to the 1967 borders.
What happened between the 2004 Bush/Sharon letter and the 2009 Clinton/Berger email?
- In 2005, Israel withdrew every Israeli civilian and soldier from Gaza
- In 2006, Hamas, the anti-Semitic terrorist group sworn to Israel’s destruction swept legislative elections, gaining 58% of the seats in the Palestinian Authority
- In 2007, Hamas routed the competing political party Fatah, and seized total control of Gaza
- In 2008/9, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead to stop the incessant missile fire into Israel from Gaza
- And in September 2009, as Clinton and Berger exchanged emails, the United Nations was preparing to release the Goldstone Report, a 452-page report where the world body would demonize Israel for committing war crimes in Operation Cast Lead
It was in that environment, where Israel was feeling the condemnation of the world, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to add fuel to the fire by berating Benjamin Netanyahu as an “obstacle to progress.” Not a single criticism of Palestinian Arab terror, which WAS the focus of the assurances between the US and Israel.
At best, pro-Israel Clinton supporters may claim that she was simply following the direction of President Barack Obama to rewrite facts and history in the hope that no one would notice.
Democrats can claim that there was no malice in rewriting the long-standing Democratic platform in 2012, removing the historic clause that had been the party’s approach for years, “All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” The entire language that was lifted verbatim from the 2004 Bush/Sharon letter was deleted in its entirety. It was as if it never existed.
Democrats comfortably pretend that Israel moved to the right, rather than the party’s positions that moved counter to facts and history, because they BELIEVE their cause to be just. They believe that the settlements are the primary obstacle to peace because they get terrible advice from left-wing groups like J Street that claim to be pro-Israel and pro-peace. (J Street just released a foolish video making fun of Donald Trump’s ties to the settlements, in time for the elections.)
The reality, is that the Democratic party under Obama’s leadership moved sharply away from Israel and the truth. And Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State followed that caustic approach to attack Israel while it was vulnerable on the world stage.
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