Hillary Clinton's 'Articulate, Sophisticated, Passionate Defense' of Netanyahu's Deplorable Acts
Israel’s best spokesperson is none other than our very own former secretary of state, according to Haaretz columnist and professor Peter Beinart, who argues that Hillary Clinton’s empathy for Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisions is exactly why she “gets so much wrong” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Beinart’s recent piece for the Israeli newsaper, he breaks down claims Clinton made in an interview Sunday with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to show why Israel’s latest “lawyer,” as the Haaretz headline refers to her, is endorsing the wrong guy.
Most remarkable of all, Clinton tells Goldberg that, “If I were the prime minister of Israel, you’re damn right I would expect to have security [control over the West Bank].” What makes this statement so remarkable is that earlier in the interview, Hillary praised the Clinton parametersoutlined by her husband in December 2000. Those parameters permit Israeli troops to remain in the Jordan Valley, along the West Bank’s border with Jordan, for three years. Later in the interview, Clinton claims that she convinced Abbas to agree to allow Israeli troops to remain for “six, seven, eight years” and that she “got Netanyahu to go from forever to 2025” as a date for their withdrawal. Even this, from a Palestinian perspective, represents painful backsliding from the position outlined by Hillary’s husband. But as Hillary must know, Bibi three weeks ago said that in light of regional developments, “there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.” Which is to say that, as of now, Bibi’s position really does seem to be “forever.” Yet rather than challenge that stance, Clinton endorses it.
Why does Clinton again and again endorse Netanyahu’s view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even when it contradicts long-standing American positions? Because she’s so willing to see the world through his eyes. Notice how she begins her statement about security control of the West Bank: “If I were the prime minister of Israel.” There’s nothing wrong with that. U.S. officials should understand, and empathize with, Israeli leaders, even right-wing ones. But what’s missing from Clinton’s interview is any willingness to do the same for Palestinians. If it’s so easy to understand why some Israelis might want perpetual military control of the West Bank, why can’t Clinton understand why Palestinians – after living for almost fifty years under a foreign army – might not want it to indefinitely patrol their supposedly independent state.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata