The entire Middle East is in a tail-spin, but President Obama still remains focused on Israel and expects it to commit to his vision of a two-state solution.
Ignoring more pressing matters in the Middle East, President Barack Obama is again focusing on the moribund peace process as he stated on Wednesday that he expects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government to work towards the two-state solution for the resolution of the situation between Israel and the Palestinians, a policy promoted by his administration but not fully accepted by Israel’s government.
As part of an extensive interview with the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat Arabic language newspaper, he stated he will “never give up on the hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and the United States will never stop working to realize that goal.”
“As I said when I visited Ramallah two years ago, Palestinians deserve an end to the occupation and the daily indignities that come with it; they deserve to live in an independent, sovereign state, where they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity,” he continued.
“And as I said in my speech to the Israeli people on that same trip, peace between Israelis and Palestinians is necessary, it is just, and it is possible. It is also in the national security interest of the United States. That’s why we’ve worked so hard over the years for a two-state solution and to develop innovative ways to address Israel’s security and Palestinian sovereignty needs,” said the American president.
However, he conceded that with the ongoing conflict and “serious questions about overall commitment” to a two-state solution “it’s no secret that we now have a very difficult path forward.” As a result of this reality, “the United States is taking a hard look” at their approach he stated ambiguously and did not elaborate on the ramifications of his policy reassessment.
Who is Creating Difficulties?
The US leader called on the new Israeli government and the Palestinians to demonstrate through policies and actions “a genuine commitment” to a two-state solution.
Ironically, the White House launched a verbal attack against the new Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in frustration over his re-election in March as well as some comments he made during his campaign, and Obama said that the US is weighing whether to back Palestinian efforts to seek UN recognition for an independent state, as recent remarks by Netanyahu reflect “dim hope” for a negotiated two-state solution.
Obama believes that trust can still be rebuilt and “a cycle of escalation avoided.” Part of the two state solutions, in his view, includes the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Hamas terror organization. The process includes “reinvigorating Gaza’s connection with the West Bank and reestablishing strong commercial links with Israel and the global economy.”
Responding to Obama’s statements, Member of Knesset (MK) Tsachi Hanegbi, a close Netanyahu confidant, said that the Palestinians have been refusing to negotiate with Israel and therefore are responsible for the failure of the peace process.
“There will never be a Palestinian state if the Palestinians don’t negotiate,” he told Israel Radio. “If they will be prepared for direct talks without preconditions, the negotiations will be renewed.”
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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