Lieberman Tells Clinton ‘No’ On Settlement Freeze


liebermanIsraeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman today reiterated the Jewish state’s refusal to freeze settlements, after his first talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exposed gaps on Middle East peace. Lieberman, standing next to Clinton after the pair had more than one hour of talks, told reporters that Israel did not have “any intention to change the demographic balance” of the West Bank. “But we think that as in any place, babies are born, people get married, some pass away and we cannot accept this vision about an absolutely complete freezing of settlements,” said Lieberman.

“I think that we must keep the natural growth,” he said after the two held their first official meeting since the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took office in late March.

“This approach is very clear and also we had some understandings with the previous administration (of George W. Bush) and we try to keep this direction,” he said.

Israel says they received commitments from the Bush administration permitting some growth in existing settlements. They say the US position was laid out in a 2004 letter from Bush to then Israeli premier Ariel Sharon.

Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beitenu party, reiterated that the Netanyahu government is ready “immediate direct talks with the Palestinians.”

Clinton stuck by early statements that President Barack Obama’s administration opposes any kind of settlement activity in line with a 2003 roadmap agreed to by Israel.

“As President Obama, Senator (George) Mitchell and I have said, we want to see a stop to the settlements,” Clinton said.

“We think that is an important and essential part of pursuing the efforts leading to a comprehensive agreement and the creation of a Palestinian next to an Israeli Jewish state that is secure in its borders and future,” she said.

Clinton also revealed that differences remained on whether communication between the previous administration committed the Obama administration to allowing some settlements.

“In looking at the history of the Bush administration, there were no informal or oral enforceable agreements,” she said, repeating earlier statements on the matter.{ Israel}


  1. cut the baloney and stop talking about 1 sided commitments. When you hammer the arabs about the incitement taught in their schools then maybe you will have some credibility as a good faith peace negotiator. until then, mind your own business


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