A newly released video of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could add some additional strain to the sometimes tense relationship between him and President Obama.
In the video, which is from 2001, Netanyahu — who reportedly did not know his speech was being recorded — speaks frankly in Hebrew about relations with the Clinton White House and the peace process.
As noted in Haaretz, Netanyahu seems to boast of his knowledge of the US by saying, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.”
He also boasts of manipulating the U.S. in the ongoing peace process, as the Washington Post points out:
“They asked me before the election if I’d honor [the Oslo accords],” he said. “I said I would, but … I’m going to interpret the accords in such a way that would allow me to put an end to this galloping forward to the ’67 borders. How did we do it? Nobody said what defined military zones were. Defined military zones are security zones; as far as I’m concerned, the entire Jordan Valley is a defined military zone. Go argue.”
The video was broadcast on a TV program called “This Week With Miki Rosenthal” titled “The Real (And Deceitful) Face of Benjamin Netanyahu.” In Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, columnist Gideon Levy said of the video:
These remarks are profoundly depressing. They bear out all of our fears and suspicions: that the government of Israel is led by a man who doesn’t believe the Palestinians and doesn’t believe in the chance of an agreement with them, who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes. There’s no point in talking about Netanyahu’s impossible rightist coalition as an obstacle to progress. From now on, just say that Netanyahu doesn’t want it.