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Monday July 26, 2010 5:15 PM (EST+7)
OPINION:Netanyahu's recorded hostility to peace process is no real surprise

Read more: Peace process, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tape recording, opinion

RAMALLAH, July 26 (JMCC) - Hostility, venom, and contempt. These are the words to best describe a recently released tape recording of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opinion of the peace process.

The nine year old tape reveals Netanyahu’s disdain for Palestinian and US administrations, and a lack of respect for agreements made during the peace process.

Secretly taped during a 2001 meeting with terror victims in the settlement of Ofra, Netanyahu's words display a hostility and venom towards Israel's peace partners entirely consistent with his approach to negotiations with the Palestinians over the years. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won't get their way, he said, referring to his plans for a broad attack on the Palestinian Authority ... [one which would] bring them to the point of being afraid that everything is collapsing.

They asked me before the election if I'd honour [the Oslo accords], he went on. 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 1967 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. In this way, he concluded, I de facto put an end to the Oslo accords.

Despite the context of his outburst – he was speaking off the record and during the height of the second intifada – his words serve to reinforce the impression that he has little to no interest in dealing equitably with either the Americans or Palestinians round the negotiating table. In terms of his current status as prime minister, the revelations will only serve to deepen suspicions among his detractors both at home and abroad, who will doubt whether the Likud leopard's spots have ever been, or can ever be, changed for the better.

Nonetheless, the tape’s revelations have caused far less of a diplomatic storm than his opponents would have hoped for. The general shoulder shrugging implies that many expect as much from a man whose career has for so long held a hawkish attitude to peace.

Read more at The Guardian…







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