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July 29, 2014

Wow: Obama "Demands" That Israel Unilaterally Declare a Ceasefire;
Israeli Government Apparently Leaks the Transcript of the Conversation to the Press

This is huge.

A State Department Spokesman says this is a major breach of diplomatic etiquette if this is a genuine transcript. (Don't they know?)

Which it would be. But on the other hand, look at the contents of it.

I am going to guess, provisionally, that this isn't real.

Even for Barack Obama, this is too much.

Still, for the moment, this is news.

Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?

BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire -- silence will be met with silence.

BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It's a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel's position.

BN: Kerry's proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.

BO: Within a week of the end of Israel's military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel's commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.

BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It's impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.

BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.

BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks --

BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball's in Israel's court, and it must end all its military activities.

Now, this is apparently a translation of a Hebrew transcript, which means that Obama's words have been translated twice -- once into Hebrew, and then again back into English.

Understand that an awful lot can change in one translation, nevermind two.

"Ask," for example, can erroneously become "demand." In some languages they're the same word.

We know the Famously Cosmopolitan President only speaks a single language.

On the other hand, the transcript, if accurate, features Obama demanding that Israel concede to Hamas that which it began the war to get -- the lifting of the blockade, so it can go back to arming itself without bother.

Giving Hamas a huge win for starting and then losing a war.

Denied: Not that the White House's denials count for much, but Ben Rhodes calls this completely "false," and a commenter posts this, I think from WH go-to mouthpiece Chuck Todd (but I'm not sure):

NSC aide tells me purported Obama-Netanyahu phone call transcript is "literally made up" dialogue. Says POTUS never made those statements

That doesn't resolve it either way, because I'd expect them to lie.

However, as I said, I tend to think this is false. That, or a botched and tendentious translation so bad as to constitute a #switchrape.

(Note that this latter explanation would only account for the tone of the transcript. But there are substantive demands in the transcript that cannot be explained away by a bad translation. But, as I say, this strikes me as likely bogus all the way through.)


Netanyahu: The Claimed Transcript Bears No Resemblance to Reality. This is more authoritative:








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