Bill Clinton's Blistering Attack on Netanyahu

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Memo to Bibi: You can get away with ignoring Obama (apparently), but you're going to have trouble escaping the judgment of the most popular American politician in Israel:

"The Israelis always wanted two things that once it turned out they had, it didn't seem so appealing to Mr. Netanyahu," Clinton said, adding that Israel wanted "to believe they had a partner for peace in a Palestinian government, and there's no question -- and the Netanyahu government has said -- that this is the finest Palestinian government they've ever had in the West Bank."

Furthermore, the former U.S. president is quoted by Foreign Policy as saying that Israel was also on the verge of being recognized by Arab nations adding that the "king of Saudi Arabia started lining up all the Arab countries to say to the Israelis, 'if you work it out with the Palestinians ... we will give you immediately not only recognition but a political, economic, and security partnership."

"This is huge.... It's a heck of a deal," Clinton said, adding: "That's what happened. Every American needs to know this. That's how we got to where we are."

"The real cynics believe that the Netanyahu's government's continued call for negotiations over borders and such means that he's just not going to give up the West Bank," he added.

FWIW, it is not the Obama Administration's opinion that the Saudis and other Arabs were close to dealing with Israel; quite the opposite. The twin frustrations of Obama negotiators in 2009 were that the Israelis wouldn't give them a total freeze on settlements and the Arabs wouldn't make the gestures necessary to unlock the process.

Other than that, Clinton is on to something, re: Netanyahu.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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