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Israeli says Bill Clinton was wrong

Sept. 23, 2011 at 3:04 PM   |   Comments

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JERUSALEM, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Israeli political leader Ze'ev Elkin rejected Bill Clinton's assertion that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to blame for a lack of Middle East peace.

Elkin, chairman of the Likud, said Friday the former U.S. president had a "bizarre vision of peace" and it's unfortunate he "did not learn from his own mistakes."

During the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Clinton said the reluctance of Netanyahu to accept peace treaty terms reached at Camp David in 2000 is a main reason for a lack of peace today, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were [former Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination and [former Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon's stroke," Clinton said Thursday.

Clinton said Sharon was working on a peace deal before his stroke and his efforts were forgotten when the Likud party came to power.

"The Israelis always wanted two things that once it turned out they had, it didn't seem so appealing to Mr. Netanyahu. They wanted to believe they had a partner for peace in a Palestinian government, and there's no question -- and the Netanyahu government has said -- that this is the finest Palestinian government they've ever had in the West Bank," Clinton said.

"Now that they have those things, they don't seem so important to this current Israeli government, partly because it's a different country. In the interim, you've had all these immigrants coming in from the former Soviet Union and they have no history in Israel proper, so the traditional claims of the Palestinians have less weight with them," he said.

"Clinton and [former Prime Minister] Ehud Barak's bizarre vision of peace and a return to '67 borders with a divided Jerusalem, including giving up parts of the Old City, dragged the state of Israel and the Palestinians into the second Intifada and cost hundreds and thousands of victims on both sides," Elkin said.

"The former president of the U.S., the stronghold of democracy in the modern world, should have learned by now to respect democratic decisions in other countries."

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