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Did Netanyahu refuse a moratorium to hurt Obama in midterms?

Aluf Benn, Haaretz’s diplomatic correspondent, had this weekend an analysis piece on the possibility the Palestinian Authority will ask a UN recognition of a unilateral declaration of independence.

Benn urged the Israeli government not to automatically object such a move. Israel, he writes, would be better off taking part in shaping a Security Council resolution than in just opposing one. As Ami Kaufman notes, given Israel’s mistrust towards international institutions, it’s a very surprising idea.

Equally interesting is a paragraph in Benn’s piece on Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent diplomatic moves (my bold):

Netanyahu rejected Obama’s request for a two-month extension of the settlement freeze; the president had wanted quiet on the Middle East front while he concentrated on the midterm elections. For his part, Netanyahu explained that he needed to show “credibility and steadfastness” at home, and indeed the incentives promised by the U.S. president in exchange for the extension did not sway the prime minister. One can surmise that Netanyahu did not want to help Obama ahead of the U.S. elections, and thus annoy the president’s Republican rivals. Netanyahu needs the support of GOP politicians to thwart the pressure coming from the White House.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Y.

      “Benn urged the Israeli government not to automatically object such a move… it’s a very surprising idea.”

      It’s hardly surprising coming from him. Isn’t Benn the one who asked Rice to “rape Israel”?

      As for Benn’s speculation, I doubt it played a role; Nethanyahu knows the US well enough to know the overwhelming reason for the Dem’s defeat is internal and a freeze would change little either way.

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    2. I agree that the Dems troubles have nothing to do with Israel, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the PM office playing Washington politics – and as Akiva Eldar wrote today, it won’t be the first time either.

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    3. […] Under these conditions, the Democratic defeat in the midterm election pleased many Israelis. An op-ed on Ynet on the eve of the elections declared Netanyahu as “the leading candidate for Congress,” while Haaretz’s diplomatic correspondent, Aluf Benn, even speculated that Netanyahu did not extend the moratorium on settlements construction in order to help “his GOP friends” on the hill. […]

      Reply to Comment