Condi says Obama’s moving backwards on Israel-Palestinian issue


Speaking of my impressive former AP colleagues, another one, Anne Gearan interviews Condoleezza Rice, who says Obama mis-stepped on brokering peace:

“When you look at where we are now, we’re a long, long way back from where we were,” Rice said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Rice said she had hoped that the Obama administration could revive stalled peace talks quickly when it took office in 2009, but she said she was disappointed by the new administration’s handling of the delicate issue of new Israeli housing construction in the West Bank.

“I do think focusing on settlements in that particular way was a mistake,” Rice said. “The parties then were able to have a reason not to sit down.”

The gulf has only widened, Rice said, “and they’re running out of time.” She did not sound optimistic for a settlement soon, or even for new talks.

“When they’re not talking, they’re sliding backward,” Rice said.


At the Daily Beast/Newsweek, Eli Lake has also plumbed Rice’s new book , "No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington," and extracts the following juicy tidbit:

Ex–United Nations ambassador John Bolton—no shrinking violet—didn’t put up much of a fight against Rice’s allegation in the book that he was sharing with Israel, without permission, the Bush administration’s drafts of U.N. resolutions to end the war with Hizbullah in Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

Rice writes, “Shalom Turgeman, [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert’s diplomatic adviser, had called [then–National Security Adviser] Steve [Hadley], furious that the United States was putting on the table a solution that Israel couldn’t support. Steve made certain that they had the right version of the resolution. Only several years later did I learn that John Bolton had been sharing information with the Israelis through their U.N. ambassador without permission to do so. That practice had backfired, as the Israeli ambassador was one step behind the discussions between the White House and the prime minister’s office.”

When asked about that passage, Bolton all but pleaded guilty. “Of course I kept the Israelis informed about the state of play in the negotiations. That’s how you treat close allies,” he told The Daily Beast.

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