The fact is that the US position on settlements (and the wording used to condemn such activity) has been consistent for roughly thirty-five years. In the early 80s, the Reagan administration reversed Jimmy Carter’s position that the Israeli settlements were illegal, saying: “As to the West Bank, I believe the settlements there — I disagreed when the previous Administration referred to them as illegal, they’re not illegal” (New York Times, Feb. 3, 1981).
Subsequent U.S. administrations – through Obama – have maintained the same position. Though they’ve obviously disapproved of Israeli construction across the green line, they did not label them as “illegal”.
A perfect example of this continuity in US policy since Reagan was seen in 2011, when then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Israeli settlements “illegitimate” before the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as “illegal”. As CNN reported at the time, “The Obama administration has been critical of Israeli settlement construction but has not gone as far as to call it “illegal.”
Secretary of State John Kerry used the exact same language as Clinton.
On Sunday morning, we contacted Times of London editors concerning Carlstrom’s claim, noting both the specific AP correction and the broader context outlined above. This morning, they informed us that the article had been amended.
The following correction appeared online and in the print edition of the paper on Dec. 20th.
(Also, see here for a recent ABC News correction on the same issue prompted by CAMERA.)
- UKMW prompts Telegraph correction to “illegal” settlements claim (UK Media Watch)