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Obama misses the mark on Netanyahu

Barack Obama’s statement about Benjamin Netanyahu’s internal political strength shows how much Americans fail to understand Israeli politics, with Israel's prime minister at an unprecedented political low point following the Gaza war.
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, September 30, 2013.      REUTERS/Jason Reed  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3FG0U

"In some ways, Bibi is too strong [and] in some ways Abu Mazen is too weak …" said US President Barack Obama concerning the stalemate in the Middle East’s diplomatic negotiations during an extensive interview he granted analyst Thomas Friedman from The New York Times Aug. 8. “… Netanyahu’s poll numbers are a lot higher than mine," and " were greatly boosted by the war in Gaza,” he said. According to Obama, only internal pressure will lead Netanyahu to compromise.

Obama is not alone. Just a little over two years ago, in May 2012, Time magazine devoted its cover story to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under the heading “King Bibi,” crowning him as the omnipotent king of the State of Israel. This, in fact, appears to have been the working premise of the Obama administration ever since the beginning of Obama’s presidency: Netanyahu is strong. There’s no point in messing with him. We should accept him and make the best of it.

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