Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton says it is a “mistake” for Israel to release 104 Arab prisoners, but that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely making a political calculation to get U.S. help later.
The move makes sense to Netanyahu, Bolton told Fox Business Network, because he is focused on the most important issue in the region: Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Netanyahu is facing a hard decision on whether to strike, and if he does he wants to be in a place to tell Obama, “I have done everything you asked me on the Israel-Palestinian question, despite the political cost, now I want you to stand with me against Iran,” Bolton said on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”
Netanyahu won the approval of his Cabinet for the prisoner release on Sunday. The move is a precondition to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks being brokered by the United States. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded release of prisoners held since before a 1993 interim peace accord. Thousands more Palestinians have been jailed since then, many of whom carried out deadly attacks on Israelis.
“Since Netanyahu, I think, believes there is no way the talks can succeed, he concludes that he’s better off letting them proceed to their inevitable failure than raising the ire of President Obama,” Bolton said.