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‘America is a thing you can move very easily’ (said Netanyahu)

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The push against Netanyahu begins inside the Jewish community. Here’s a piece reported by Tablet, saying that Netanyahu in a 2001 conversation, after his first run as Prime Minister, boasted of gaming the United States on the Oslo accords. Much of the talk involves military zones in the West Bank. When people ask you why the West Bank looks like an archipelago, the arbitrary creation of Israeli military zones is a big reason. Arrogance, or just reporting the weather? (Oh and Huffpo has picked it up)

“I know what America is,” Netanyahu replied. “America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.” He then called former president Bill Clinton “radically pro-Palestinian,” and went on to belittle the Oslo peace accords as vulnerable to manipulation. Since the accords state that Israel would be allowed to hang on to pre-defined military zones in the West Bank, Netanyahu told his hosts that he could torpedo the accords by defining vast swaths of land as just that.

“They asked me before the election if I’d honor [the Oslo accords],” Netanyahu 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.”

Smiling, Netanyahu then recalled how he forced former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher to agree to let Israel alone determine which parts of the West Bank were to be defined as military zones. “They didn’t want to give me that letter,” Netanyahu said, “so I didn’t give them the Hebron agreement [the agreement giving Hebron back to the Palestinians]. I cut the cabinet meeting short and said, ‘I’m not signing.’ Only when the letter came, during that meeting, to me and to Arafat, did I ratify the Hebron agreement. Why is this important? Because from that moment on, I de facto put an end to the Oslo accords.”

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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