In an interview with an Israeli news station, President Obama said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has undermined his country’s credibility with his position on Palestinian statehood.
“Well, I think that when he spoke right before the election, he was fairly unequivocal in saying that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership,” Obama said in the interview with Israel's Channel 2 TV Network, which aired on Tuesday.
“As long as he was prime minister, there wouldn’t be two states," Obama continued. "I think subsequently, his statements have suggested that there is the possibility of a Palestinian state, but it has so many caveats, so many conditions, that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met any time in the near future. And so the danger here is that Israel as a whole loses credibility.”
While campaigning for reelection in March, Netanyahu made firm statements saying that a Palestinian state would not happen under his watch, and soon found himself subject to scrutiny from the Obama administration. He later sought to clarify his statements, and further elaborated on them this week when he said he was committed to a two-state solution on the condition that Israel carve out the territory it wants to keep in an agreement.
Palestine promptly dismissed the offer.
“I remain committed to the idea that the only way we can achieve a lasting peace is through the concept of two states for two peoples — a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish nation state of Israel,” Netanyahu said on Sunday.
In his interview, Obama questioned Netanyahu’s ability to serve as a reliable negotiator in talks with Palestinian officials.
“Already, the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution,” he said. “The statement the prime minister made compounded that belief that there’s not a commitment there. I don’t see a likelihood of a framework agreement.”
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