Obama appears to have cleared his schedule in order to attack Israel’s democratically elected leader.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been democratically re-elected, and while Israel is the US’ closest ally in the Middle East, President Barack Obama is persisting with his verbal tirade against Netanyahu and the Israeli people’s choice for leadership.
In his latest attack on Israel, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the US is weighing whether to back Palestinian efforts to seek UN recognition for an independent state, and that recent remarks by Netanyahu reflect “dim hope” for a negotiated two-state solution.
A Wall Street Journal report that same day alleged that Israel had spied on the US during sensitive negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program and relayed the information to the US Congress in order to build a case against a deal with the Islamic Republic, which threatens to destroy Israel.
The White House, while feuding with Netanyahu over an emerging deal with Iran, also attacked the Israeli prime minister for comments he made in the final days of his elections campaign last week. Netanyahu stated that under his leadership, no Palestinian state will be established, and he warned that Arab voters were heading to the polls “in droves,” urging the nationalist camp to vote for him.
Netanyahu has since clarified his campaign statements, explaining on Fox News that the conditions necessary for a peaceful two-state solution were not achievable in the current Mideast climate. Regarding his comments on the Arab vote, they “should be taken in a larger context,” he said. “I warned of foreign money coming in to selectively try and bring out supporters of a list that includes Islamists and other factions that oppose the State of Israel.”
The White House reacted unfavorably.
“Netanyahu, in the election run-up, stated that a Palestinian state would not occur while he was prime minister,” Obama said during a news conference. “And I took him at his word that that’s what he meant.
“Afterwards, he [Netanyahu] pointed out that he didn’t say ‘never,’ but that there would be a series of conditions in which a Palestinian state could potentially be created,” Obama said. “But, of course, the conditions were such that they would be impossible to meet any time soon.”
“We can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy on something that everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years,” the president asserted.
When Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei called for “Death to America” on Saturday, the White House chose to dismiss the rhetoric and not take him for his word, telling CNN that it was “intended for a domestic political audience” and was not to be taken seriously.
Obama: It’s Business, Not Personal
Obama said that his disagreements with Netanyahu over Iran and the Palestinians should not be framed as personal issues, explaining that he has a “businesslike relationship” with Netanyahu and has met with him more than with any other world leader.
“This can’t be reduced to a matter of somehow let’s all, you know, hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya,'” Obama said. “This is a matter of figuring out how do we get through a real knotty policy difference that has great consequences for both countries and for the region.”
Fractures in the US-Israeli relationship recently have been played out at the American capital.
Obama was furious when House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to address Congress just as the Iran nuclear talks were approaching a critical juncture. Some Democrats skipped the speech in which Netanyahu boldly warned that an emerging nuclear deal with Iran would allow Tehran to continue developing nuclear weapons.
By: United with Israel Staff and AP
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