Argument: Israeli settlements taint negotiations and peace process

Issue Report: Israeli settlements


Mr. Richard Boucher, U.S. Department of State –Daily Press Briefing, November 25, 2002: “Our position on settlements, I think, has been very consistent, very clear. The secretary expressed it not too long ago. He said settlement activity has severely undermined Palestinian trust and hope, preempts and prejudges the outcome of negotiations, and in doing so, cripples chances for real peace and prosperity. The U.S. has long opposed settlement activity and, consistent with the report of the Mitchell Committee, settlement activity must stop.”[1]

Excerpt from a letter written to H.E. Benjamin Netanyahu on December 14, 1996: “We write you because we are concerned that unilateral actions, such as expansion of settlements, would be strongly counterproductive to the goal of a negotiated solution and, if carried forward, could halt progress made by the peace process over the last two decades. Such a tragic result would threaten the security of Israel, the Palestinians, friendly Arab states, and undermine U.S. interests in the Middle East.” The letter was signed by: James A. Baker III (Former Secretary of State), Zbigniew Brzezinski (Former National Security Adviser), Frank C. Carlucci (Former National Security Adviser), Lawrence S. Eagleburger (Former Secretary of State), Richard Fairbanks (Former Middle East Peace Negotiator), Brent Scowcroft (Former National Security Adviser), Robert S. Straus (Former Middle East Peace Negotiator), Cyrus R. Vance (Former Secretary of State).”

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker – May 22, 1991: “Every time I have gone to Israel in connection with the peace process on each of my trips I have been met with the announcement of new settlement activity. This does violate United States policy. It is the first thing that Arabs–Arab governments—the first thing that Palestinians in the territories—whose situation is really quite desperate—the first thing they raise when we talk to them. I don’t think there is any greater obstacle to peace than settlement activity that continues not only unabated but at an advanced pace.”[2]

Reagan Plan, September 1982: “The Reagan Plan states that ‘the United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements during the transition period (5 years after Palestinian election for a self-governing authority). Indeed, the immediate adoption of a settlements freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks. Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be fee and fairly negotiated.”[3]

William Scranton, US Ambassador to the United Nations, UN Security Council — March 23, 1976: “Substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under the convention and cannot be considered to have prejudged the outcome of future negotiations between the parties on the locations of the borders of states by the Middle East. Indeed, the presence of these settlements is seen by my government as an obstacle to the success of the negotiations for a just and final peace between Israel and its neighbors.”[4]