Obama Threatens New Israeli Government Over Palestinian State
Obama is a lot like a preschooler. He wants what he wants when he wants it. Right now, he wants to alienate Israel as much as possible.
He doesn’t want to share the toys in the sand box, but the sand he throws in the eyes of Israel is very real:
The new Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be sworn in today at 7 p.m. local time.
On Wednesday, the Israeli government presented its coalition guidelines, which states, among others things:
The government will advance the diplomatic process and strive to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and all our neighbors while maintaining Israel’s security, historical and national interests.
This statement was the second in a long list of 18 of the government’s policy priorities. Other top goals include reducing the cost of living, promoting immigration and integration, protecting minority rights, and protecting the environment.
The guidelines also state, “The Jewish people have the undisputable right to a sovereign state in the Land of Israel, its national and historic homeland.”
Absent from the statement about the Palestinians was the so-called two-state solution. Netanyahu made it clear just before the March 18 election that he expected a Palestinian state would not be established under his watch.
After his resounding victory in the election, Netanyahu somewhat backtracked on his statement after he was rebuked by the Obama administration and the European Union.
Administration officials later stated they were skeptical about Netanyahu’s commitment to a two-state solution and were therefore re-evaluating their approach to promoting direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
This would leave open the possibility of withdrawing traditional diplomatic U.S. support for Israel at the U.N. and possibly even supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing the terms of an agreement on Israel, a move Washington has opposed in the past.
Although the released coalition guidelines now clarify that the new government will pursue a negotiated solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, it is almost certain this does not mean Israel feels it is committed to the two-state solution at this point.
Netanyahu has made it clear that the transfer of any territory in the heartland of Israel will result in an Islamist takeover of the West Bank and rockets on Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport, and other vital areas.
President Obama seems to be on a new collision course with Israel over the Palestinian state issue.
In an interview with London-based Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, the president said, “the Palestinians deserve an end to the occupation and the daily indignities that come with it,” and, “they deserve to live in an independent, sovereign state, where they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity.”
He then added something that could be interpreted as a threat to the new Israeli government:
With the breakdown of talks, simmering tension in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, last summer’s conflict in Gaza, and serious questions about an overall commitment to a two-state outcome, it’s no secret that we now have a very difficult path forward. As a result, the United States is taking a hard look at our approach to the conflict.
We look to the new Israeli government and the Palestinians to demonstrate—through policies and actions—a genuine commitment to a two-state solution. Only then can trust be rebuilt and a cycle of escalation avoided.
Addressing the lasting impact in Gaza of last summer’s conflict should also be central to any effort. Ultimately, the parties will need to address not just Gaza’s immediate humanitarian and reconstruction needs, but also core challenges to Gaza’s future within a two-state context, including reinvigorating Gaza’s connection with the West Bank and reestablishing strong commercial links with Israel and the global economy.
H/T: Western Journalism
Written by Katie McGuire. Follow Katie on Twitter @GOPKatie, on Facebook, or email the author at [email protected]