Published On: Wed, Sep 21st, 2016

Obama to Netanyahu: Settlement Construction Is Threatening the Two-state Solution

The US president and Israeli PM met in New York. Obama, while hoping that his country will pave a path to Israeli-Palestinian peace, clarified that he wouldn't be launching any new peace initiatives personally.

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US President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for about half an hour in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, on Wednesday. This is likely their last meeting before Obama leaves office in January.

White House advisor Ben Rhodes said before the meeting, that the president would express his concern over construction in the West Bank and clarify that he would not launch a new peace initiative before leaving office.

At the begining of their meeting Obama told reporters the United States still hoped to help pave a path to Israeli-Palestinian peace. He said that he will be interested in hearing Netanyahu’s assessment about the conditions in Israel and the West Bank.

“There is great danger of terrorism and flair ups of violence and we also have concerns about settlement activity, ” said Obama, “We want to see how Israel sees the next few years… because we want to make sure that we keep alive this possibility of a stable secure Israel at peace with its neighbors and a Palestinian homeland that meets the aspirations of the Palestinian people.” He added that the conversation would bring up Syria and the condition of the West Bank.

Netanyahu comment about the Palestinian issue, and said: “The greatest opportunity is to advance peace and this is something that I and the people of Israel will never give up on.”

Obama raised “profound U.S. concerns about the corrosive effect that settlement activity, that is continuing when the occupation enters its 50th year, is having on the prospects of two states solution.”

According media reports Netanyahu pushed back on this. “They’ve never papered over their differences, ” he said.

 

Haaretz said Obama’s comments reflected the view of the American administration that the two-state solution is in real danger of becoming irrelevant in the near future, mostly because of the construction in the settlements and the diplomatic freeze between Israel and the Palestinians. The Americans think the situation on the West Bank and the present trends are leading to a reality of a single bi-national state.

Obama mantioned the $38 billion US military assistance deal for Israel “would ensure that Israel’s military has the full capabilities it needs during a time of great uncertainty.”

 

 

 

 

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