President dismayed by PM’s Arabs ‘voting ‘in droves’ comment, says he has to rethink policy given Netanyahu’s ruling out of Palestinian statehood
In his first public comments since Benjamin Netanyahu’s election victory, President Barack Obama castigated the prime minister’s election day remark about Arabs voting in droves, and confirmed that the US would re-evaluate its stance on Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in light of Netanyahu’s pre-election rejection of Palestinian statehood.
Although Netanyahu later backtracked, and reiterated a commitment in principle to a “sustainable, peaceful two-state solution,” Obama told The Huffington Post in an interview published Saturday that his administration is now operating under the assumption that Netanyahu does not envision the creation of a Palestinian state.
“We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership,” Obama said, “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.”
In the interview, the president promised to maintain cooperation with the Israeli government on military and intelligence operations, but would not say whether the US would continue to block Palestinian efforts to secure statehood via the United Nations. He said he had told the Likud leader when they spoke on Thursday, “It is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are possible.”