Bibi Spills the Beans

Liel Leibovitz and Gideon Levy have the rundown on a just-publicized tape of Benjamin Netanyahu from 2001. Addressing an audience at the West Bank settlement of Ofra without realizing that the cameras are running, Netanyahu claims that he has “de facto put an end to the Oslo accords” and boasts of his ability to manipulate U.S. policymakers. Among the tape’s highlights (from Liebovitz’s writeup):

“I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction. They won’t get in their way.”

On getting the U.S. to concede to Israel the right to define which areas of the West Bank were “closed military zones: “From that moment on, I de facto put an end to the Oslo accords.”

“They asked me before the election if I’d honor [the Oslo accords]. 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 ’67 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.”

Bill Clinton is “radically pro-Palestinian”.

With the exception of the last line about Clinton, all of these statements appear to fit Michael Kinsley’s definition of a gaffe — that is, when a politician unwittingly tells the truth.

Daniel Luban

Daniel Luban is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University. He holds a PhD in politics from the University of Chicago and was formerly a correspondent in the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service.



  1. Will this story make the front page of the NYT (above the fold)? Am I right to believe that it will be buried or ignored?

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