'Bill Clinton’s criticism of PM doesn’t reflect US views'

US State Department says former president Clinton's comments blaming Netanyahu for impasse in peace process those of "private citizen."

Bill Clinton giving a speech 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Cohn)
Bill Clinton giving a speech 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Cohn)
The US State Department under Hillary Clinton is not endorsing the sharp criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu voiced last week by her husband, former US president Bill Clinton.
“President Clinton is a private citizen, his comments reflect his private views,” a US embassy spokesperson said Monday.
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The former president, who had a testy relationship with Netanyahu when he was president and Netanyahu was prime minister in the late 1990s, blamed Netanyahu for the impasse in the diplomatic process during a discussion last week with bloggers.
His comments came even as the Obama administration’s public tone toward Israel changed dramatically last week, with US President Barack Obama’s sympathetic and empathic address at the UN.
According to Josh Rogin’s blog on the Foreign Policy website last week, Clinton attributed the lack of a comprehensive peace agreement today to the Netanyahu administration’s refusal to accept the Camp David deal that he brokered in 2000, and the influx of Russian-speaking immigrants who he called “territorialists, the people who just showed up lately, and they’re not encumbered by the historical record.”
His comments about the Russian-speaking immigrants echoes similar comments he made last year that raised eyebrows in Jerusalem.
According to Rogin, Clinton said Netanyahu’s government has moved the goal post since taking power.
Netanyahu, in various US television interviews he gave over the weekend, said he “respectfully disagrees” with Clinton.
“I’ve offered to make peace with the Palestinians, sit down with them time and time again, and they’ve avoided it,” Netanyahu said when asked about the matter in an interview on Fox News.
“He said actually that I moved the goal posts. You know what? He’s right. I moved them closer to peace. I said things and I did things that no previous prime minister has done. I froze the settlements for 10 months, the construction there. Nobody did that before.”