The United States UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, reiterated on Monday that the policy of the Obama administration continues to be that it “does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity, and will continue to oppose any efforts to legalize outposts.”
Okay, that’s a fair carefully crafted statement that in this diplomatic day and age needs to be carefully dissected.Â You will have to take note that the ambassador did not say that questions the “legitimacy” of existing settlement communities.Â She said that the position of the US today is that it is opposed to settlement “activity.”
So here we have it before our very disbelieving eyes—a pro-Israel statement constructed and couched in terms that on the surface seem patently critical of the Jewish state. Â But it is not. Or is it. The answer might be yes and no.
On the recent destruction of Palestinian olive groves, the ambassador said that this type of activity is “deplorable” and it is. But she didn’t say or even allude to the possibility that the destruction was wrought by Jewish activists. In fact video has been produced that shows Palestinians destroying their own olive groves in an effort to frame Israel.Â “We look to Israeli authorities to act decisively to protect these resources and investigate such acts.”Â Â That means, I suppose, that she supports arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators whoever they are.
And then she said that the US “supports the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a two state solution resulting from direct negotiations without preconditions between the Israeli’s and Palestinians.”Â So does Prime Minister Netanyahu.
The words—without preconditions—means that at this juncture the Palestinian position that negotiations cannot be predicated on the ceasing of settlement building as the Palestinians have been insisting is not supported by the US.
It’s an interesting analysis. Now we just have to figure out the difference between settlement “building” and “activity.”