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Bill Clinton: Netanyahu isn’t interested in Mideast peace deal

HAARETZ.com

September 23, 2011 | 11:52 am

Former President Bill Clinton speaks during the 2011 Clinton Global Citizen Award ceremony at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Sept. 22. Photo by REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Former President Bill Clinton speaks during the 2011 Clinton Global Citizen Award ceremony at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Sept. 22. Photo by REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is responsible for the inability to reach a peace deal that would end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said on Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York, the former U.S. president was quoted by Foreign Policy magazine as claiming that Netanyahu lost interest in the peace process as soon as two basic Israelis demands seemed to come into reach: a viable Palestinian leadership and the possibility of normalizing ties with the Arab world.

“The Israelis always wanted two things that once it turned out they had, it didn’t seem so appealing to Mr. Netanyahu,” Clinton said, adding that Israel 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.”

“The real cynics believe that the Netanyahu’s government’s continued call for negotiations over borders and such means that he’s just not going to give up the West Bank,” he added.

Clinton’s comments come as a Palestinian delegation headed by Abbas is planned to officially submit its statehood bid to the United Nations later Friday, with both Palestinian President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu scheduled to address the General Assembly.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

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