Clinton rejects Israeli claim on settlement agreement
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday rebuffed Israeli claims that the Bush administration had concluded a binding understanding with Israel on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. "We have the negotiating record, that is the official record that was turned over to the Obama administration by the outgoing Bush administration," Clinton stated. "There is no memorialisation of any informal or oral agreement" concerning the settlements, she added.
The new Israeli government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu has been insisting Israelis received commitments from the previous Bush administration allowing some growth in existing settlements. According to the Israelis, the US position was detailed in a 2004 letter from Bush to then Israeli premier Ariel Sharon.
Clinton rejected that notion, saying any such American stance was informal and "did not become part of the official position of the United States government." She insisted the American position that Israel is obliged to follow commitments made in a so-called "road map" for peace negotiations. "Those obligations are very clear," Clinton said, according to AFP.