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Daily Israel Report

Clinton Calls Obama's Building Freeze a 'Mistake'

Hillary Clinton says 2009 Judea Samaria construction freeze pushed on Netanyahu was 'one mistake of many' in new memoir.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 6/7/2014, 10:25 PM

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
Reuters

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has some biting words for President Barack Obama in her new memoir, saying his push for a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria was a mistake.

Speaking about the 2009 building freeze that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu submitted to, Clinton wrote "in retrospect, our early, hard line on settlements didn't work." The book, entitled "Hard Choices," was received by AP ahead of its release on Tuesday.

Clinton added that the pressure to freeze building exerted by the Obama administration was "one mistake of many" by the US, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the talks.

According to her, the freeze made PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's position more entrenched, and led him to reject the talks, demanding an official freeze in eastern Jerusalem as well.

The former secretary of state, considered a likely contender in the 2016 American presidential elections, noted Abbas made light of the "unprecedented" Israeli move to freeze all building in the region, demanding the freeze be extended.

Netanyahu reportedly admitted in a meeting last month that he had submitted to more recent US pressure and frozen construction in Judea and Samaria again, even despite the collapse of the peace talks in April, which themselves did not include a freeze as a condition.

The prime minister claimed that he was not aware that canceling the high planning council meetings of the IDF's Civil Administration, charged with managing the region, would completely prevent even the smallest development in the area.

In a Committee meeting last Monday, Netanyahu reportedly raised fears of "Disengagement" plans among MKs, saying "I don't want one state from the (Mediterranean) Sea to the Jordan (River)...we must separate from the Palestinians." After having ruled out negotiations with the new Fatah-Hamas unity government, the talk of separation and not maintaining full control over Judea and Samaria, some MKs drew the conclusion that he was insinuating unilateral steps.

In the new autobiography, Clinton also said she was in favor of arming the Syrian rebels, but that Obama refused the move.