Sarah Palin's Israel Policy

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Appearing on ABC News, Sarah Palin weighed in on Arab-Israeli peace:

"I disagree with the Obama administration on that," Palin told Walters. "I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon, because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don't think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand."

Blake Hounshell isn't impressed, calling Palin's policy "morally and strategically obtuse" and then adding

This is why, from their inception, successive American presidents of both parties have denounced this colonization of the West Bank, although rarely, such as when George H.W. Bush put real pressure on the Israelis by temporarily holding up loan guarantees, have they done more about it talk. Even George W. Bush, the bulk of whose Israel policy can be fairly summed up as "Let Ariel Sharon do what he wants," at least expressed his displeasure over the settlements every now and again.

So Palin is way out there on the lunatic fringe, supporting an Israeli policy that all serious people understand to be deeply corrosive to the prospects for peace and to Israel itself.

This seems a bit like a Casablanca moment - we're shocked, shocked! - by what Palin said about American policy toward Israel. But that's absurd.

I would note that, as Hounshell himself admits, not a single U.S. president has actually done more than mouth empty threats or apply mild, temporary, pressure on Israel over its settlements. All serious people may believe settlements are corrosive to peace, but those people do not include the current Prime Minister of Israel and the current U.S. administration (again, judge what they do, not what they say).

What Sarah Palin is saying has been U.S. policy in deed, if not in word, for decades. I see no reason to beat up on Palin over stating the obvious, not least because she will (thankfully) never be president.

(AP Photos)

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