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January 7, 2016 12:56 pm

Indyk on PBS Documentary: By 2013, Obama Had Already Written Off Netanyahu

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Former Mideast envoy Martin Indyk. Photo: Wikipedia.

Former Mideast envoy Martin Indyk. Photo: Wikipedia.

Following a tense political year in 2012 between Israel and the United States, when it appeared as though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have been supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney against Barack Obama in that year’s elections, Obama had essentially “written off Netanyahu,” claimed diplomat and US negotiator Martin Indyk.

Obama’s disregard for Netanyahu came after what journalist Jeffrey Goldberg said was the height of Israeli power on the issue of Iran and the US; throughout 2012 it appeared as though the Israelis were on the verge of striking Iran and potentially drawing the US into another regional military conflict.

But after Obama’s second victory, by 2013 and 2014, “In that period, the air went out of the balloon. … I think that the president has essentially written off Netanyahu,” Indyk said.

But Obama’s new secretary of state, John Kerry, decided to make restarting peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel one of his first major focuses, and Indyk would go on to become Kerry’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace, that lasted nine months from 2103 to 2014.

Indyk’s comments were part of a PBS documentary highlighting the apparent feud between Obama and Netanyahu that precipitated over deep disagreements on Mideast policy, the peace process and the Iran nuclear deal. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday accused Indyk of fabricating a conversation with Netanyahu, in which he said Rabin would have gone on to become a political failure had he not been assassinated.

Relations between Obama and Netanyahu had already soured by 2013. Obama’s skipping Israel in his first Mideast trip, stating that the ’67 lines and land swaps as the basis for peace talks with the Palestinians, appearing to abandon Hosni Mubarak, a longtime US ally in Cairo, and then Netanyahu’s apparent lecturing of the president in the White House, meddling in internal US politics in an election season, and further enmeshing himself in a seeming attempt to scuttle Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, are seen in the documentary as the significant catalysts of the demise of their interpersonal relations.

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