The reporter for Israel’s Channel 1 who reported on an excerpt of an alleged transcript of a phone conversation between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu is standing by that report despite vehement denials from both sides. In response to near immediate denials from Netanyahu’s people and the Obama administration, Oren Nahari – the reporter – says an American official gave him the transcript on Sunday, the day of an acknowledge conversation between Obama and Netanyahu.
Here is the excerpt in question, supposedly part of a conversation lasting more than 30 minutes. This is a translation from English into Hebrew and back into English so if it is legitimate, it’s likely not exact:
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 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.
Perhaps lending credibility to Nahari’s report is who the Obama administration relied on to officially debunk the transcript – White House Deputy Adviser and Hamas defender, Ben Rhodes. The reason Rhodes’ rebuke of Nahari helps Nahari’s credibility is that Rhodes has none. It was Rhodes who sent out the September 14, 2012 email (which included suspected stealth jihadist Mehdi Alhassani on his distribution list) that directed Susan Rice to blame the Innocence of Muslims video for the Benghazi attack.
This is why credibility matters in a presidential administration. Obama doesn’t fire anyone, even when they’re caught lying. Yet, he expects people to believe his spokesmen. Instead of relying on a White House adviser whose credibility is at best suspect, perhaps that adviser’s credibility should be under more scrutiny and not just accepted. The Obama administration is built on lies (36 about Obamacare alone). If anything, whatever it says comes perilously close to being the opposite of the truth more often than not.
No one is denying that a conversation between Obama and Netanyahu took place on Sunday; it did. Based on what is known and has been reported, even if the ‘transcript’ is not authentic, it certainly captures the spirit of what is widely believed to be true.
The sentiment expressed in the ‘transcript’ certainly mirrors reports that have come out about why Israel so adamantly rejected of Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire. Chief among them is an offer to allow Qatar and Turkey negotiate with Hamas. In fact, Hamas was to receive millions of dollars from Qatar under the guise of humanitarian assistance. In reality, the notion that Turkey and Qatar would be engaged by the Obama administration to negotiate a deal is laughable. Turkey was behind the 2010 Gaza Flotilla (and is even threatening to send another one) and Qatar is a terrorist country that is home to Al-Jazeera and has provided safe haven to Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qatar also funds Hamas.
Based on what is known about the proposal, the ‘transcript’ corroborates several, already accepted facts.
Five minutes after Rhodes’ tweet that denied the authenticity of the transcript, Netanyahu’s office tweeted a similar denial. Nahari reported that an Obama administration official provided him with the ‘transcript’.
If that were true (remember to consider Rhodes’ lack of credibility and defense of Hamas), a key question becomes: What would have been the motivation?
Just last week, it was relayed by Shoebat.com that Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is no longer talking to Obama over the issues of Syria and Gaza:
The ‘transcript’ includes Obama saying, “I trust Qatar and Turkey”. First of all, if that weren’t true, why would the administration rely on them to negotiate a ceasefire? Second, it’s quite possible that while the ‘transcript’ revealed Obama’s comments to Netanyahu, the leaking of it may have been for Erdogan’s benefit.
Another reason to leak it is that it’s obviously perceived as unhelpful by Netanyahu. Last night on the Kelly File, the normally very forceful-speaking Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev was very diplomatic and measured in his comments (video below). He adamantly denied media reports that Kerry’s offer was pro-Hamas as well as the related claims attributed to ‘government officials’ by Israeli media.
Regev went on to say that the ‘government officials’ cited in Israeli media are not ‘in the loop’ or close enough to Netanyahu and do not have enough information to make such claims: