'This Week' Transcript: George Mitchell and King Abdullah II

MILLER: And as a consequence, you do it at a time when there are no negotiations, where Abbas has just made a deal with Hamas, against the backdrop of a very charged political environment. The consequences of this were, I would argue, predictable.

AMANPOUR: So you talked about no relationship. I mean, they have a frosty relationship at best, right, Jake?

TAPPER: There's no love lost, I think it's fair to say. And I also think it's fair to say that when Bibi in the Oval Office did something I've never seen happen...

AMANPOUR: I was going to ask you...

TAPPER: ... which is -- which is this little history lesson on the Jewish people and suffering, that did not endear him further to the White House.

AMANPOUR: Were you -- were you stunned by that? I mean, it did look like a public lecture.

MILLER: Yeah, I mean, it was -- it was pretty unprecedented. I mean, Begin used to lecture Carter, but it was done privately. Begin was too polite to do it publicly. Netanyahu saw an opportunity. He was clearly upset. I mean, he feels that he was set up. So this was payback.

And it was payback at a time when the prime minister feels pretty self-confident that the peace process is going nowhere. And he has a number of cards to play. I'm not sure, however, for an American audience, you want to be in position of lecturing your only reliable ally.

AMANPOUR: Even Jeffrey Goldberg, who is one of the most reliable friends of Israel in print and in all sorts of way, said that he was offended to see -- to see the Israeli prime minister basically lecturing the president of the United States and that Netanyahu had, quote, "gone out of his way" to alienate this president.

TAPPER: You know, what's interesting is what's Netanyahu -- what Netanyahu is doing in front of the cameras and really what they're upset about behind the scenes. What they're upset about behind the scenes is the Israelis acknowledge, yes, obviously the '67 borders with mutually agreed-upon land swaps is the basis for territorial negotiation, but that's always been behind the scenes. Now this is the official U.S. position for the first-time ever, yes, by the way, but in the past, but now it's the official position.

And what that does is it gives away a chip at the negotiating table, so now the Israelis don't get to exact a concession from the Palestinians in exchange for that agreement.

MILLER: Jake's right. And there's something more. It's not just the principle that concerns the Israelis. It's the next step, that the administration is now -- having laid the principle -- going to take a position on a number, because the swap is somewhere between 2 percent -- which the Palestinians assert -- and anywhere from 8 percent to 10 percent that the Israelis, Olmert, 4 percent to 6 percent. The next step is this process I'm sure from Israel's perspective is, "This guy's going to actually put a number on the table. That I can't deal with."

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you. You mentioned Olmert, and so did George Mitchell, the former prime minister of Israel. And he did give quite a wide-ranging offer to the Palestinians. And at that time, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, did not step up and take it. And he was still prime minister.

MILLER: You had different guys, different circumstances.

AMANPOUR: No, no, but he was -- yeah.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...