The State Department has now refused 21 times in the last week to answer a straightforward question: is the
The first refusal occurred on May 27, as Department Spokesman Ian Kelly promised to post a written answer to the question and then did not. The next seven refusals occurred on June 1, as Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood repeatedly declined to answer the question. The next day, Wood refused another 11 times. And yesterday Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State, added refusal Number 20 and 21:
QUESTION: . . . You may be aware that the former chief of staff of then-Prime Minister Ariel
MR. CROWLEY: I suspect there is an ongoing debate in this room, but not necessarily outside of this room. (Laughter.) I mean, we are focused on commitments that both sides have made in the Roadmap. The President and the Secretary have been very clear on the obligations that both sides have. We’ve had several meetings with Israeli officials in recent days. We do not believe there is any confusion about the nature of those obligations.
QUESTION: So is the
MR. CROWLEY: We are focused on the Roadmap and the obligations that both Israel and the Palestinians have said that they will undertake, and we’re going to hold both of them to them – to that.
QUESTION: So it means you are not bound?
MR. CROWLEY: I would suggest that you keep focusing on the Roadmap.
The Obama administration apparently believes
As I tried to demonstrate at the time of the disengage-ment, the purpose of the 2004 exchange of letters between Sharon and Bush was to insure that: (1) there was an agreement between the U.S. and Israel on the principles governing the later negotiation of final status issues under the Roadmap (including settlements, borders and refugees); and (2) in exchange for Israel undertaking the extraordinary political, social and economic costs of the disengagement – and the even greater military and strategic risks in turning over Gaza to the Palestinian Authority – the U.S. would adhere to those principles.