Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, made two noteworthy statements in a radio interview today. First, Israeli settlement expansion was part of the Bush-era “roadmap” peace plan, he said, agreed to by both Tel Aviv and Washington, and that the Obama administration was in violating it by pressuring the Netanyahu government to call a halt to construction. And, second, he said that of course Israel is committed to Haaretz’s reported “lightning” evacuation of 23 illegal settlements in the West Bank—that was also part of the deal with Bush. News of this impending IDF clearance of settlements had right-wing pols in Israel either skeptical (Netanyahu wouldn’t pull a Sharon) or alarmed (or would he?). “News of this kind could push the settlers to extreme actions,” said Aryeh Eldad, a Knesset member from the National Union party, told Army Radio. “The members of the coalition will also have to open up a front against the prime minister.” Meanwhile, the IDF denied the Haaretz claim, saying it had received no orders to remove settlers, and had not been conducting preparatory exercises to do so. According to reporters Yuval Azoulay and Yoel Marcus, however, the IDF will likely keep their plans under wraps for fear of prompting a more coordinated settler rebuff. Like, you know, the one Eldad is implicitly threatening.

Ex-Envoy To U.S.: Israel ‘Totally Committed’ To Razing Outposts [Haaretz]