As quoted in The Times of Israel, former Israeli foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and a current leader in the Opposition stated of the Netanyahu Video that, "After Netanyahu's video, the U.S. is saying that all the settlements, including the blocs, are an obstacle, whereas in the past they were recognized."
And the leader of the Arab block in the Israeli Parliament called the Knesset, Ayman Odeh, said in a Facebook post of Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks that, "Netanyahu doesn't care that it is the settlements that were established precisely in order to cruelly expel Palestinian populaces from the West Bank to limited territories around the major cities."
Criticism of any Prime Minister in the world from his nation's political opposition for just about any remarks which he made is to be expected. And there is certainly no surprise that Israeli Arab leaders have voiced objections to the Benjamin Netanyahu video. But the American government is also a bit peeved with Netanyahu over the ethnic cleansing remark.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told the press, "We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful." So they are not happy with Benjamin Netanyahu right now.
But the real question here is, "who was Benjamin Netanyahu actually speaking to in this video?" Was the Israeli Prime Minister preaching to the converted, as it were, in an attempt to galvanize Israeli supporters in the West? Was Benjamin Netanyahu hoping to put pressure on the American government by turning the tables with equating a call to dismantle the settlements with ethnic cleansing?
If it was the latter, then the Benjamin Netanyahu video may have backfired.
Robert Danin, former senior U.S. State Department official and peace negotiator, told The Washington Post that he sees the Benjamin Netanyahu video as just an attempt on the part of the Israeli Prime Minister to posture ahead of future peace talks in an attempt to preserve as many of the Israeli settlements as possible. He said that, "by saying there will be 'no ethnic cleansing of Jews' in the West Bank, Netanyahu is positioning himself for possible future negotiation with the Palestinians. While showing he is tough, he is also trying to establish a principle: Just as there have been and will continue to be Arab citizens of Israel, so, too, should there be the right for Jews to remain in a future West Bank state."
More condemnations of the Benjamin Netanyahu video can be expected to come after the end of the weekend. The coming week will tell if it becomes a major news story and if the American Presidential candidates make an issue out of Netanyahu's remarks.
[Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]