In fresh rebuke of Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Barack Obama has criticised the Israeli leader’s rejection of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I did indicate to him that we continue to believe that a two-state solution is the only way for the long-term security of Israel, if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic,” Obama said, during an interview with the Huffington Post.
“Well, we take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region,” said Obama, whose administration sponsored failed talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state that would exist peacefully side-by-side with Israel.
“And I indicated to him that given his statements prior to the election, it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are possible.”
The White House had said after Obama’s call on Thursday that the president had told Netanyahu Washington would “reassess” its options on U.S.-Israel relations and Middle East diplomacy.
Obama’s sharpest criticism refered to Netanyahu’s election day warning about Arab Israeli voters going to the polls “in droves” which critics slammed as racist fear-mongering.
“We indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel’s traditions, that although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly,” Obama said.