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Dear Hillary - Part I: Was Netanyahu Lying Before or After the Election?

By       Message Marc Ash       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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From commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Secretary_Clinton_Meets_With_Israeli_Prime_Minister_Netanyahu_(4990901618).jpg: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahoo
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Dear Hillary,

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One of the most important and potentially most volatile issues you will have to deal with should you become president lies in the Israeli-Palestinian theater. In fairness, it is a situation you are very familiar with.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu raised eyebrows in the run-up to the most recent election by telling Israeli voters that there would be no Palestinian state as long as he was prime minister.

In a fairly direct contradiction shortly after he won reelection, he backtracked, saying he was still committed to the two state solution.

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For context, you may want to consider Nicolas Sarkozy's unscripted but genuine remark to President Obama at the G20 Summit in 2011. Referring to Netanyahu, Sarkozy said, "I can't stand him. He's a liar." To which Obama replied, "You're sick of him? I have to work with him every day."

Personality clashes aside, Netanyahu obviously cannot both oppose and support Palestinian statehood. Wordsmithing notwithstanding.

So if Sarkozy was right, was Netanyahu lying to the Israeli people prior to the election, or is he lying to the international press and the international community now? Hint: opposition to Palestinian statehood has been a cornerstone of Israeli right-wing politics since 1948.

The last Israeli prime minister truly committed to a Palestinian state was your husband Bill Clinton's partner in the "peace process," Yitzhak Rabin. He was, as you know, shot in the back by an Israeli right-wing fanatic as he left a peace rally at Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv in 1995. The assassin would later say of Rabin, "He wanted to give our country to the Arabs." Your husband's commitment to the peace process and a two state solution made him and the U.S. Democratic party very unpopular with right-wing Israelis.

Arguably your husband's greatest foreign policy achievement was the 1993 Oslo Accords. Oslo set the framework for a step by step movement toward a two state solution. The process died along with Rabin on November 4, 1995.

As U.S. Secretary of State you were of course executing the game plan of President Obama. In that context your perspective was muted. So the question hangs rather heavily in the air regarding what you might do should you achieve the presidency.

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Further complicating the situation is the concept of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, and by extension the original Balfour territories maps, which were to say the least a bit of a convoluted patchwork. The lack of clearly defined borders has to this day made sovereignty impossible, certainly for the Palestinians and arguably for the Israelis as well. Just something to be aware of should you set out to finish your husband's work.

One of many interpretations of the original Balfour/UN agreement map laying out the Israeli-Palestinian territories. The interwoven territories have never yielded a viable state for Israel or Palestine.
(Image by (image: PASSIA))
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But before we set out for the promised land, there are war crimes to be addressed.

Twice in the past eight years the Israeli military, under Netanyahu's leadership, has used sophisticated U.S.-supplied warplanes and bombs to level large swaths of densely populated Gaza. The civilian death and destruction that followed were catastrophic.

There was no military rationale. The bombing campaigns were collective punishment for Hamas's continued resistance to Israeli abuses.

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Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, now the founder, editor and publisher of Reader Supported News: http://www.readersupportednews.org

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