Obama: Israel Hampering Palestinian Peace Plan

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Barack Obama has said Israel is making it “hard to find a path” for peace over the Palestinian conflict.

In an apparent snub to Benjamin Netanyahu, the US President said the Israeli leader’s rejection of a two-state solution was hampering negotiations to resolve the crisis.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, the President described a phone call he had with Mr Netanyahu, two days after the Israeli leader was re-elected.

“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,” he said.

Mr Netanyahu had declared before the election that there would be no Palestinian state while he was Israel’s prime minister.

Despite appearing to backtrack later, Mr Obama said he would take Mr Netanyahu “at his word” for the comments.

“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.

“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.”

The White House said Washington would “reassess” its options on US-Israel relations and Middle East diplomacy following Mr Obama’s phone call.

In the interview, the President also expressed concern over Mr Netanyahu’s election day warning to his supporters about Arab-Israeli voters going to the polls “in droves”.

“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,” he said.

Despite a worsening in US-Isaeli relations, Mr Obama said the country’s military and security cooperation would remain unchanged.

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