Understanding understandings – and trashing them


So, according to Hillary Rodham Clinton there’s no written record of the Bush administration agreeing to look the other way on "natural growth" in settlements — except there is.

Unpack this with me, from a press conference Friday at the State Department with the Turkish foreign minister. Clinton was asked about such "understandings," reported by Elliott Abrams, Bush’s deputy national security adviser, and Dov Weisglass, a top adviser to Ariel Sharon. Here’s what she said:

With respect to the conditions regarding understandings between the United States and the former Israeli government and the former government of the United States, we have the negotiating record. That is the official record that was turned over to the Obama Administration by the outgoing Bush Administration. There is no memorialization of any informal and oral agreements. If they did occur, which, of course, people say they did, they did not become part of the official position of the United States Government. And there are contrary documents that suggest that they were not to be viewed as in any way contradicting the obligations that Israel undertook pursuant to the Roadmap. And those obligations are very clear.

Is it me, or does "contrary documents that suggest they were not to be viewed" mean that yes, these agreements were committed to paper — "memorialized" — if only to contradict them?

A little clarification is in order.

Incidentally, Republicans are already making hay of this. Which is rich.  I mean, yes, by all means, let’s get to the bottom of this – Israel has every right to.

But the trashers of Kyoto, of the ABM treaty, are making a fuss about an "understanding" nobody can even delineate (as in which settlements, what kind of growth)?


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