Obama's dirty tricks backfireDonald Segretti. David Bernstein has sorted it all out.
So here’s the dynamic: Netanyahu, while talking tough publicly about terms for an Israeli-Palestinian deal, was much more accommodating privately during actual negotiations. Just before Israeli elections, the U.S. government likely leaks evidence of his flexibility to harm Netanyahu. As a result, Netanyahu starts to lose right-wing voters to smaller parties, and the left-leaning major opposition party takes a lead in the polls, putting Netanyahu’s leadership in question, just as the U.S. wanted.
Netanyahu responds by using increasingly right-wing rhetoric (including denying that he ever agreed to the framework in question), to win back the voters from smaller parties that the leak cost him. He wins, and almost immediately announces that his campaign rhetoric was misunderstood, and that he still supports a two-state solution when conditions allow. The Obama Administration then announces it nevertheless has to reassess relations with Israel, allegedly because Netanayahu is no longer committed to the two-state solution.
So you get it? The Obama Administration, or someone with similar motivations, leaks a document showing that in practice, Netanyahu was surprisingly flexible in negotiations sponsored by the U.S. Netanyahu then tries to compensate by sounding tough in the closing days of his campaign. The administration then pretends that this is much more meaningful than its actual experience with Netanyahu, as indicated by the document it likely leaked, because it was out to punish Israel for electing Netanyahu regardless.
Indeed, recent reports show that the administration was planning to retaliate against Israel diplomatically if it reelected Netanyahu months ago, not only before his controversial election remarks, but before his Iran speech to Congress was even planned. (In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if Israeli intelligence had gotten wind of this, and thus Netanyahu thought he had little to lose by irritating Obama further with his speech).So which of Obama's goals did he accomplish?
Get rid of Bibi? Nope. Not only did Netanyahu win the election, but it looks like we're headed for a more Right wing coalition than the last one.
Get a 'Palestinian state' or get the negotiations for one on track? Nope. Netanyahu is not the one who blew up the negotiations, and having been the target of Obama's cheap shot for being flexible, I would bet on Netanyahu being a lot less flexible when and if (ever) those negotiations resume.
Get Netanyahu to stop telling people how lousy Obama's Iran deal is? Nope. In fact, Obama himself may have been the precipitater of Netanyahu seeking and accepting that invitation to address a joint session of Congress.
And you thought Obama messed up the rest of the Middle East? Oh Bummer....