Q&A with Ehud Yaari on U.S.-Israeli Relations

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GIDEON ROSE: Thank you.

Well, welcome, everybody. This is Gideon Rose, the managing editor of Foreign Affairs. We are delighted to have with us today Ehud Yaari, who has a very interesting and provocative piece in the new issue of Foreign Affairs called "Armistice Now: An Interim Agreement for Israel and Palestine," laying out a new option for the peace process. And as a promotional device for the issue and Ehud's article, we arranged to have a major flap in U.S.-Israel relations just so we could sort of kick off the discussions in a -- in a more aggressive and provocative way. We are lucky to have -- that's obviously a joke.

We have Ehud with us today to discuss not only his piece, but also the current mini-crisis in U.S.-Israel relations, which he has been following, not just from the Israeli side but also from the American side, where he is the Lafer International Fellow at the Washington Institute. He's one of Israel's most prominent journalists. His résumé extends out the door. I know all of you are familiar with it, so without further ado, let's get right to Ehud.

Ehud, why don't you start for a second and tell us what you think the essence of this immediate dispute is between the U.S. and Israel. Did Netanyahu know what was going to happen when Biden came? And was the dispute orchestrated on the --

EHUD YAARI: Yes, thank you, Gideon.

The prime minister and his defense minister are landing -- (inaudible) -- and I'm speaking to you from Jerusalem or near Jerusalem.

I can say that, number one, they were totally amazed by the reaction of Vice President Biden, the White House, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the announcement of those 1,600 additional units in one of the bigger neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

Number two, I think that the sense amongst the Israeli delegation coming back from D.C. right now is that they fell into a trap. The general sense in Israel right now is that the prime minister was sorely humiliated by President Obama. There is quite a degree of amazement the way he was treated. I think it's fair to say that neither the prime minister nor his defense minister, Ehud Barak, were aware of the kind of reception that they were greeted with at the White House.

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