Obama opens up about Israel in final White House interview
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Obama opens up about Israel in final White House interview

The outgoing U.S. president said settlements were inhibiting the possibility of an 'effective, contiguous Palestinian state'

Ex-U.S. President Barack Obama had a fraught relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Here the two met in New York, Septermber 2016

Photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO via JINIPIX
Ex-U.S. President Barack Obama had a fraught relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Here the two met in New York, Septermber 2016 Photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO via JINIPIX

The increase of Israeli settlements has “gotten so substantial” that it is inhibiting the possibility for an “effective, contiguous Palestinian state”, Barack Obama has said in his final interview as US president.

Speaking to CBS’ 60 Minutes, Mr Obama dismissed the idea that there was a “major rupture” in the relationship between the United States and Israel after last month’s decision by the US to abstain from a United Nations vote condemning Israeli settlements.

“Because of our investment in the region, and because we care so deeply about Israel, I think (the US) has a legitimate interest in saying to a friend, ‘This is a problem’,” he said.

“It would have long-term consequences for peace and security in the region, and the United States.”

The outgoing president also reflected on his legacy and his biggest challenges during his eight years in office during the hour-long interview.

A number of his policies, from health care to his contentious relationship with Israel, could be short-lived as president-elect Donald Trump becomes the 45th president later this week and vows to reverse some of them.

Mr Trump has been vocal about his disapproval of many of Mr Obama’s policies, often voicing his disagreement or engaging in public disputes with the president on Twitter.

Most recently, Mr Trump lashed out over hypothetical comments Mr Obama made that he would beat Mr Trump if they ran against each other in a general election.

During the festive holiday, Mr Trump accused Mr Obama of throwing up “inflammatory” road blocks during the transition of power and his administration of treating Israel with “total disdain”.

 

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