Barack Obama has criticized Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s approach to making peace with Palestine. Obama said in a TV interview that the US may review its continued diplomatic support of Israel over the issue.
US President Barack Obama shared his bleak outlook on the possibility for Palestinian statehood in an interview with Israeli TV on Tuesday, saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had lost international credibility as a potential peacemaker.
Obama further suggested that the continuation of America’s diplomatic defense for Israel at the United Nations could be reviewed, though he made it clear that US support for Israeli security was not in question.
“Already, the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution. The statement the prime minister made compounded the belief that there’s not a commitment there,” Obama told Channel 2 TV, referring to comments made by Netanyahu ahead of Israel’s general election in March.
In a last ditch attempt to rally voters, Netanyahu backtracked on previous statements that he supported an eventual brokering of peace by allowing Palestine to form its own state. He has since apologized, but that has done little to thaw his icy relationship with Obama.
The two have also long been divided over how to handle curbing Iran’s nuclear program.
“I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu is somebody who’s predisposed to think of security first; to think perhaps that peace is naïve; to see the worst possibilities as opposed to the best possibilities in Arab partners or Palestinian partners,” Obama continued.
Obama called on Israelis to support only diplomatic, non-military options for ensuring that Iran does not achieve the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
Obama also voiced his skepticism that negotiations on Palestinian statehood could move forward in his remaining year-and-a-half in office, saying “I don’t see the likelihood of a framework agreement.”
His reasoning was that “if nobody believes there is a peace process,” it becomes increasingly difficult to get those who are upset to rein in the anger for the sake of negotiating with the other side.
Washington has long blocked pro-Palestinian resolutions at the UN in hopes of encouraging direct diplomacy between the two sides, Obama said. But he told the interviewer that now was the time to re-evaluate “how we approach defending Israel on the international stage around the Palestinian issue.”