President Barack Obama officially responded to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Congress address and post-elections in Israel, referring to his relationship with Netanyahu currently as a “very businesslike relationship.”
Ahead of stating his disapproval of Prime Minister Netanyahu, Obama addressed reports that Israel spied on negotiations between the United States and Iran, an accusation that Israel strongly denies. He stated to journalists that, “As a general rule, I don’t comment on intelligence matters in a big room full of reporters, and I think I’ll continue that tradition.”
He then went on to criticize Prime Minister Netanyahu’s pre-election speech in which he stated there would be no creation of a Palestinian state “on his watch” due to the growing threat of radical Islam in the region. Obama said, “In the election run up, [Netanyahu] stated that a Palestinian state would occur while he was prime minister. And I took him at his word, that that is what he meant, and I think that many voters in Israel understood him to be saying that fairly unequivocally.”
On the Palestinians, he stated “With respect to Israel’s relations with the Palestinians, I think it’s important to understand that the issue here is not what I believe, but it’s what the Palestinians and the parties in the negotiations and the Israeli people believe is possible. That’s the most important issue” adding that, “The issue is not a matter of relations between leaders… This can’t be reduced to a matter of somehow let’s all, you know, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. This is a matter of figuring out how do we get through a real knotty policy difference that has great consequences for both countries and for the region.”
He reaffirmed his commitment to the safety of the Israeli people and the United States as an ally to the Jewish State stating that he “will continue to do whatever I need to do to make sure that our friends in Israel are safe. That’s what I’ve done since I’ve been president. And that’s not going to stop. The Israeli people need to know that.”
Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian, is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.