TEL AVIV – The latest leaked emails reveal that Hillary Clinton believes a facade of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is better than nothing.
In an email correspondence cited by the Times of Israel and released by WikiLeaks last week, Clinton wrote foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan and campaign chairman John Podesta saying that a “Potemkin process is better than nothing.”
Clinton was responding to an earlier email from Sullivan on March 2015 who sent her a New York Times article about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apology for his warning that “Arab voters are going in droves to the polls” in Israel’s elections that year.
Sullivan remarked with sarcasm: “Unsurprisingly, Pragmatic Bibi makes an appearance,” he wrote.
“This is an opening that should be exploited,” Clinton responded.
A large percentage of the latest batch of emails posted by WikiLeaks last week deal with Israel.
In another conversation, Stuart Eizenstat, former U.S. diplomat who is close with the Clintons, said that a senior Israeli officials had revealed to him that Netanyahu felt Clinton was “more instinctively sympathetic to Israel than the White House.”
Eizenstat said in the December 2015 email that according to the Israeli official, things were not as they seemed in the media. He was referring to a spat in 2010 when President Barack Obama ordered then-secretary of state Clinton to phone Netanyahu and scold him of housing plans in a Jerusalem neighborhood that lies beyond the Green Line.
“The Prime Minister always had a ‘surprising good relationship’ with Hillary. ‘She is easy to work with’, and… she is more instinctively sympathetic to Israel than the White House,” Eizenstat wrote. “Even during their famous 43 minute phone call, when he felt like slamming down the phone, he felt she was simply heavily scripted and reading from points prepared by the White House.”
The phone call’s conversation was leaked to the media and showed Clinton berating Netanyahu saying his approval for the settlement building raised doubts about his commitments to peace.
Eizenstat also said he and the Israeli official discussed “possible economic initiatives to help the Palestinians,” adding that “the Prime Minister is genuinely interested in doing positive things on the ground.” But Netanyahu said he was not able to do so at present, according to Eizenstat, partly because of the White House’s ambiguous position on a UN Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meanwhile, a poll found that Israelis largely support Clinton over rival Donald Trump despite the fact that they believe the Democratic hopeful will pressure Israel to a greater extent on the Palestinian issue.
41.8% of Israelis believe Clinton to be the better option for Israel compared to 23.9% for Trump, the new Peace Index released Sunday by the Israel Democracy Institute showed.
However, some 57.2% of respondents (62.7% of Jewish Israelis, 30.1% of Arab Israelis) said Clinton “will more heavily pressure the Israeli government to renew negotiations with the Palestinians if elected.”