Obama: Disagreement with Netanyahu ‘Isn’t Personal’

Obama: Disagreement with Netanyahu ‘Isn’t Personal’

By | 2015-03-25T02:05:43+00:00 March 25th, 2015|News|0 Comments
US President Barack Obama said Tuesday that his disagreement with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over how to pursue a Middle East peace deal was substantive, not personal.
 
“I have a very business-like relationship with the prime minister,” Obama told reporters at a joint White House news conference with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.
 
“He’s representing his country’s interests the way he thinks he needs to, and I’m doing the same. So the issue is not a matter of relations between leaders.
 
“The issue is a very clear, substantive challenge. We believe that two states is the best path forward for Israel’s security, for Palestinian aspirations and for regional stability.
 
“That’s our view and that continues to be our view. And Prime Minister Netanyahu has a different approach.”
 
Obama said the dispute would not be solved by he and Netanyahu putting aside any personal rivalry to sit down and “sing kumbaya,” but would be a matter of political negotiation.  
 
“This is a matter of figuring out how we get through a knotty policy difference that has great consequences for both countries and the region,” he said.
 
The comments come after an unprecedented period of tension between the White House and Jerusalem.
 
Following Binyamin Netanyahu’s election victory last week, Obama raised eyebrows by being the last world leader to congratulate him, taking a full two days to call the Israeli prime minister.
 
The American President’s feet-dragging came after an election campaign which saw widespread allegations of White House attempts to directly influence the outcome and “oust” Netanyahu via leftist NGOs, most notably the so-called “V15” campaign.
 
But while Obama was apparently reluctant to congratulate Netanyahu, he wasted no time criticizing him over comments he made rejecting the possibility of the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state given the current turmoil in the region. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Obama even hinted the US could reconsider defending Israel from the Palestinian Authority’s hostile moves at the UN.
 
Earlier Tuesday, an Israeli diplomat claimed Obama was conducting no less than a campaign of “revenge” against Netanyahu for thwarting Washington’s attempts to meddle in the Israeli elections.
 
Also Tuesday, a report in the Wall Street Journal cited unnamed US officials accusing Israel of “spying” on ongoing nuclear talks with Iran.
 
Those claims have been flatly denied by Israel and brushed off by the US State Department, but such allegations being made by unnamed but presumably senior US diplomats is being seen as yet another indication of the Obama administration’s hostility towards Netanyahu.