Bill Clinton's Blistering Attack on Netanyahu

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/09/bill-clintons-blistering-attack-on-netanyahu/245552/