TEL AVIV — Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday harshly criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, calling the move a “serious mistake” that will erode America’s international credibility with the “consistent flouting of agreements.”
However, Obama himself had no problem flouting a critical U.S. pledge to Israel when his administration allowed the passage of an anti-Israel United Nations resolution demanding a halt to Israeli construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, wrongly labeling those lands “Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”
Obama on Tuesday said Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal is “misguided.”
The former president further warned: “The consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers.”
Obama failed to mention that Iran is already accused of violating the agreement by signing the deal under false pretenses. During an address last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a cache of secret files he says were obtained from inside a hidden Iranian site and clearly demonstrate that Tehran maintained a secret nuclear weapons program despite declarations to the contrary.
Netanyahu explained that the structure of the U.S.-led international nuclear agreement was in part based on deceptive Iranian descriptions of its previous nuclear work. He said Iran’s failure to disclose its secret program while misleading the world shows the nuclear deal is “based on lies based on Iranian deception.” The Israeli leader presented evidence that Iran continued research for a nuclear weapons program even after signing the 2015 nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, Obama himself flouted a declarative letter from former president George W. Bush regarding Israeli settlements, a document that was said to have been central to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s fateful decision to evacuate Israel’s communities from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005.
Obama continued this practice throughout his administration by repeatedly attacking Israeli rights to communities in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. This anti-settlement policy culminated in the Obama administration’s infamous decision to abstain from voting on a UN Security Council resolution calling for a halt to Israeli construction in these areas, thereby allowing the measure to pass. The move marked a dramatic departure from the longstanding U.S. policy of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions.
In 2004, just prior to the Gaza evacuation, Bush issued a declarative letter stating that it is unrealistic to expect that Israel will not retain some Jewish settlements in a final-status deal with the Palestinians. The letter was publically used by Sharon to justify the Gaza evacuation, explaining to the Israeli public that the withdrawal would help secure Israeli security control over swaths of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. The West Bank contains ancient Jewish communities, such as Hebron and Beit El, and some of the holiest sites in Judaism, including Joseph’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Eastern Jerusalem houses ancient Jewish neighborhoods and Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.
Bush’s letter stated:
In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.
The letter was overwhelmingly endorsed by the Senate in a 95-3 vote on June 23, 2004, and by the House of Representatives by a margin of 407-9 one day later.
Elliott Abrams, the Deputy National Security Adviser for Global Democracy Strategy during Bush’s second term, was instrumental in brokering understandings between the U.S. and Israel on settlements. In a June 2009 piece published by the Wall Street Journal, Abrams accused the Obama administration of “abandoning” those U.S.-Israel understandings by taking positions critical of all settlement activity.
There were indeed agreements between Israel and the United States regarding the growth of Israeli settlements on the West Bank … principles that would permit some continuing growth. … They emerged from discussions with American officials and were discussed by Messrs. Sharon and Bush at their Aqaba meeting in June 2003. … The prime minister of Israel relied on them in undertaking a wrenching political reorientation – the dissolution of his government, the removal of every single Israeli citizen, settlement and military position in Gaza, and the removal of four small settlements in the West Bank. … For reasons that remain unclear, the Obama administration has decided to abandon the understandings about settlements reached by the previous administration with the Israeli government. We may be abandoning the deal now, but we cannot rewrite history and make believe it did not exist.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.