Saturday, January 1, 2011

Clinton and the White House are so disappointed with Barak for not pulling Netanyahu to the left

(Haaretz).The U.S. administration is furious with Defense Minister Ehud Barak over the stalled peace talks, sources have told Haaretz. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama's senior advisers say that for more than a year and a half Barak misled them about his persuasive powers with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the peace process.

A senior Israeli official, who requested anonymity, told Haaretz about his recent hour-long meeting with a senior U.S. official who detailed the reasons Clinton and the White House are so disappointed with Barak.

The Israeli official said his U.S. interlocutor stressed that the infuriation with Barak reached as high as Obama and Clinton.

This came after Barak reached an understanding with Washington over extending the settlement construction freeze by three months in exchange for a written pledge of diplomatic and military guarantees in September.

Barak promised that Netanyahu would approve the deal, but did not deliver the goods.

"We put all our money on him a year and a half ago, The entire administration bet on Barak because he said he could nudge Netanyahu toward an agreement with the Palestinians, but he deceived us and led us down the garden path."

"He charmed us with his intelligent analysis; the president listened to Barak like a student with his teacher and trusted him, but he didn't meet any of his promises over the peace process and the building freeze," the official told the Israeli.

The latter said he left the meeting "in shock .... I almost burst into tears."

The U.S. official said Barak's disappointing behavior evoked a sense of deja vu in Washington, especially at the State Department, recalling his failures as prime minister in the peace talks at Shepherdstown and Camp David.

Washington is expected to resume its efforts this week to restart the peace process, but its expectations are low. The administration is not walking away only because of its fear of renewed violence that would suck in the United States.

"We lost our hope in this coalition," the U.S. official told the Israeli. "We simply have no more expectations."