TEL AVIV (Jun. 8)
Vice President Dan Quayle, in his first interview with an Israeli newspaper, made clear that Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank seriously troubles the Bush administration.
He strongly urged Israel to end it.
Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Jerusalem Post Washington correspondent Wolf Blitzer were published Thursday. The full interview will appear next week.
The excerpts, headlined “Don’t Even Talk About New West Bank Settlements,” quoted Quayle as saying that Israeli leaders have told him that the announcement of new settlements did not necessarily mean they would actually be built.
“These announcements of new settlements are politically problematic, even if they don’t go through,” the vice president said.
“It’s the announcement of them” that counts, Quayle said. “What it does is that it’s just a very political problem.” It is “something that I with there was a sensitivity about,” he added.
He repeatedly stressed his strong support for Israel.
Blitzer reported that Quayle’s aides told him the vice president appealed for an end to settlement activity in private meetings he held with visiting Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Foreign Minister Moshe Arens and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The aides said Quayle wanted to use his first Israeli interview to underline his strong views on the settlements issue.
It was the second time in little more than two weeks that the administration spoke out on the subject.
Secretary of State James Baker stunned a pro-Israel audience in Washington on May 22, when he urged Israel to “forswear annexation, stop settlement activity” and abandon the “unrealistic vision of a Greater Israel.”
Baker spoke at the 30th annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs committee.