[WSF-Discuss] "Obama [Publicly] Chides Netanyahu Over Comments on Palestinian State"

Sukla Sen sukla.sen at gmail.com
Mon Mar 23 01:38:58 CDT 2015

[This is something unprecedented in the recent decades, one'd guess.]


Obama Chides Netanyahu Over Comments on Palestinian State
President's comments reflect growing tensions between U.S., Israel

President Barack Obama, right, meets with Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in Washington on Oct. 1, 2014.
In an interview published Saturday, Mr. Obama said comments made by
Mr. Netanyahu in the run-up to the Israeli election hampered the peace

March 22, 2015 12:46 p.m. ET

President Barack Obama said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu had hampered the Mideast peace process by saying in the
closing days of his re-election campaign that there would be no
Palestinian state during his tenure as Israel's leader.

***In a public rebuke of a U.S. ally, Mr. Obama said he told the
Israeli prime minister that "given his statements prior to the
election, it is going to be hard to find a path where people are
seriously believing that negotiations are possible."***

He said the U.S. believed that a two-state solution to
Israeli-Palestinian tensions were "the only way" to provide security
to Israel, "if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic.''

Mr. Obama's comments, in an interview with the Huffington Post made
public on Saturday, reflect increasingly frayed tensions between the
U.S. and Israel. Mr. Netanyahu had said before last week's Israeli
election that there wouldn't be a Palestinian state on his watch and
then tempered his comments afterward to suggest he remained open to a
two-state solution.

'Given his statements prior to the election, it is going to be hard to
find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are
--President Barack Obama
"We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn't happen during
his prime ministership, and so that's why we've got to evaluate what
other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic
situation in the region," Mr. Obama said in the interview, which was
taped Friday.

Mr. Netanyahu was thought to be in a tight race for re-election. But
his party emerged with the most seats in the Israeli parliament,
giving him the opportunity to form a coalition government and retain
the post of prime minister.

Republicans have criticized Mr. Obama for saying the U.S. may have to
reassess its relationship with Israel in light of Mr. Netanyahu's
stance on a Palestinian state.

Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., said on Sunday that Mr.
Netanyahu isn't against a two-state solution but is concerned that
establishing a Palestinian state at this time would allow it to become
a terror base. Israel believes that Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas has to break its alliance with Hamas.

"Israel is in favor of a Palestinian state that would end conflict
with Israel," Mr. Dermer said on NBC.

Riyad Mansour, Palestinian permanent observer to the United Nations,
on Sunday said that Mr. Netanyahu's comments were troubling and were
an obstacle to a two-state solution.

"If he suggests to wait, there will never be a two-state solution," he
said on NBC.

Republicans continued their criticism of Mr. Obama's handling of
relations with Israel. Speaking on CNN, Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.)
said the president should "get over" the comments Mr. Netanyahu made
leading up to the election.

"Get over your temper tantrums, Mr. President," he said. "Israel is
our most reliable ally.'' He called Mr. Netanyahu's comments "the
least of" Mr. Obama's problems.

Write to Stephanie Armour at stephanie.armour at wsj.com

Peace Is Doable

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