Martin Indyk
The Daily Beast
March 12, 2010

Editor’s note:Martin Indyk is a former deputy research director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington. He helped found the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. WINEP teamed up with PNAC, JINSA, and the neocons to push for the invasion of Iraq.

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Netanyahu sensed a political advantage, and he’s pressing it. Martin Indyk, former American ambassador to Israel, explains Netanyahu’s remarkable decision to taunt his country’s most important ally.

What happened to Vice President Biden this week in Jerusalem was egregious but hardly new. Right-wing governments in Israel have regularly embarrassed high-level U.S. officials by making announcements about new settlement activity during or just after their visits. But it usually happens to secretaries of state. It infuriated James Baker, confounded Condoleezza Rice, and appalled Madeleine Albright.

When I served as Albright’s ambassador in Israel, during Bibi Netanyahu’s first term as Prime Minister, he announced a major extension to an existing West Bank settlement as she departed Israel after one of her efforts to move the peace process forward. When she heard the news, she called me on an open line and shouted: “You tell Bibi that he needs to stop worrying about his right wing and start worrying about the United States.”

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