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Sarah Palin urges Israel settlement expansion, attacks Barack Obama

Sarah Palin calls for an expansion of Israel settlements – challenging 40 years of US policy – in an interview with Barbara Walters. Palin also criticizes Barack Obama for urging an Israeli halt.

By Staff writer / November 18, 2009

Barbara Walters (right) poses with Sarah Palin during an interview for ABC News in New York, November 13.

Steve Fenn/ABC/Reuters

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Former Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin has been something of a news generating machine of late, thanks to the publicity tour for her recently released memoir, "Going Rogue."

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Whether a minor public spat with Levi Johnston (father of her grandson), her appearance with daytime talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, describing Katie Couric's interview style as "badgering," or describing Newsweek's photo choice for a recent cover on her as "sexist," she's been able to cause gallons of ink to be spilled over almost all of her comings and goings (this news organizations is a guilty as anyone).

But while most of her comments and coverage have been about personalities, or campaign styles, or whether she was comfortable with her $150,000 wardrobe during the presidential campaign, she is also beginning to provide glimpses into her policy beliefs, as supporters continue to urge her to run for the Republican nomination and challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.

Her latest bombshell: to effectively call for an end to 40 years of official government policy on Israel in an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters. In teasers the network is releasing before the interview airs tonight, ABC quotes Gov. Palin as saying Obama is wrong to oppose settlement expansion, an ongoing issue that is dimming the chances for progress on peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

"I disagree with the Obama administration on that," Palin said. "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."

While her assertion that more and more Jews will be "flocking" to Israel soon is dubious (the immigration of US Jews to Israel hit an 18-year low in 2007 while the Palestinian population in the area is growing at faster rate than the Jewish one), her wholehearted support for settlement expansion on land Israel seized in 1967 is an outlier. The West Bank and East Jerusalem are considered to be illegally occupied by the UN and most world governments . Direct support for settlements would be a stunning departure for the US.

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