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'US Knows Bibi Can Be Squeezed,' says Former Head of PM's Office

Yossi Ben Aharon, ex-director of Prime Minister Shamir's office: Netanyahu needs to learn to say 'no' to US pressure or his government will fall.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/19/2009, 9:52 PM / Last Update: 11/19/2009, 10:38 PM

Flash 90

Former Prime Minister's Office Director Yossi Ben-Aharon thinks Binyamin Netanyahu's image as a person who can be squeezed into concessions is the reason that the United States has begun pressuring Israel regarding the neighborhood of Gilo in Jerusalem.

Former prime ministers knew how to be tough with the U.S., Ben Aharon told Arutz Sheva. “When [President Jimmy] Carter tried to pull a stunt on [Prime Minister Menachem] Begin and put Jerusale
When [Baker] mentioned the settlements then Shamir would look at him without answering.
m on the negotiation table, Begin answered him in an unmistakable manner: 'If I forget thee Jerusalem, may my right arm wither.'

"When Bush the father tried to pressure Shamir to freeze settlements, Shamir used a very efficient tactic. Without getting into confrontations, he simply created a tough image. He knew how to safeguard Israel's interests. Then-Secretary of State James Baker knew there were certain subjects one could not raise with Shamir. When he mentioned the settlements, Shamir would look at him without answering. There was a red line here that Shamir would not let anyone cross. Netanyahu, too, can do the same thing.

"Netanyahu has created the impression of a squeezable man and this operates to his detriment,” Ben Aharon elaborated. “Obama's aides tell him 'Netanyahu is squeezable, so let's squeeze him'... Now they have reached the Gilo neighborhood because they see that the pressure on Netanyahu yields results.”