Barack Obama has questioned unequivocal U.S. support of Israel at the United Nations, saying Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election comments ruling out a Palestinian state risked damaging Israel’s “credibility”.
Speaking during a TV interview, the US president took a question on the Israeli premier’s infamous dismissal of a Palestinian state, saying the world “already does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution”.
Asked about Netanyahu’s refusal to grant a Palestinian state, he said: “The danger here is that Israel as a whole loses credibility.”
The US leader said Netanyahu’s efforts to backtrack on the comments included “so many caveats, so many conditions, that it is not realistic”.
He added: “It would appear to look as if this is simply an effort to return to the previous status quo in which we talk about peace in the abstract, but it’s always tomorrow, it’s always later.”
Obama also queried the United States’ continued backing of Israel at the UN, saying a U.S. veto was “difficult” because of a lack of progress in peace talks.
“Up until this point, we’ve pushed away against European and other efforts because we’ve said the only way this gets resolved is if the two parties work together,” said Obama.
“If, in fact, there is no prospect of an actual peace process, if nobody believes there is one, then it becomes more difficult to argue with those concerned about settlement construction, those concerned about the current situation.”