11:48 GMT +321 November 2019
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    US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, November 9, 2015.

    'Too Painful': Ex-Obama Aide Claims Netanyahu Used Political Pressure Within US

    © AFP 2019 / Saul Loeb
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    Ben Rhodes, former adviser to Barack Obama, has written a book entitled “The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House,” covering the ex-president’s concerns during his eight years in office.

    In his 422-page memoir, Rhodes recalled that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Barack Obama’s speech calling for a return to the 1967 lines as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, saying that “These lines are indefensible.”

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    According to Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, the prime minister took advantage of the moment to turn the American Jewish establishment against the US president.

    “It was the perfect way to mobilize opposition to Obama among the leadership of the American Jewish community, which had internalized the vision of Israel constantly under attack,” Rhodes wrote.

    In an attempt to explain the Obama administration’s reluctance to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Rhodes claimed that Netanyahu was blocking all his efforts to push forward on his Middle East peace plan.

    “It was far too painful to wade into these waters with no prospect of success. Netanyahu had mastered a certain kind of leverage: Using political pressure within the United States to demoralize any meaningful push for peace, just as he used settlements as a means of demoralizing Palestinians.”

    The author also wrote that before Obama’s address to AIPAC’s annual policy conference in 2012, the president asked Rhodes to edit his speech and confessed that he had never been as “annoyed” as he was that very day.

    “This is as annoyed as I’ve been as president,” Obama was allegedly frustrated with his inability to make his private views public on four final-status issues in peace talks, including borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees.

    “Dealing with Bibi is like dealing with the Republicans,” the president purportedly told Rhodes.

    In another excerpt from the memoir, Rhodes wrote that back in 2013 Netanyahu fully supported Obama’s decision to seek congressional authorization before striking Syria in response to alleged sarin gas attack, purportedly ordered by President Bashar Assad.

    Rhodes also claimed that Netanyahu told Obama that “Your decision was right, and history will be kinder than public opinion,” as the president was torn about whether to act on his statement, threatening Syria with an attack if it crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons, or to wait for congressional approval.

    The relationship between Obama and Netanyahu was strained from the onset, fueled by disagreements on how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and different approaches to the Iran nuclear deal.

    By contrast, Israel-US relations have reached an all-time high due to President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the newly acknowledged capital.

    Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, United States
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