Obama Publicly Rebukes Netanyahu

President Obama said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “had hampered the Mideast peace process by saying in the closing days of his re-election campaign that there would be no Palestinian state during his tenure as Israel’s leader,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Obama: “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.”

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  • APV

    The 2-state solution has 15 years of bipartisan support under both Republican and Democratic administrations. For Netanyahu to trash it for the sake of political expediency and pretend he did not mean it is not acceptable.

    Without working towards that solution, Israel will be a theocracy and an apartheid state.

    • mhandrh

      A theocratic and apartheid state seems to be the goal of Netanyahu.

      • Rhodent

        As far as I can tell, the only goal of Netanyahu seems to be Prime Minister Netanyahu.

    • Guest

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  • ospreyboi1122

    I give the new government somewhere between 18-24 months before it collapses. My guess is the moderate faction Bibi will have to bring in will bolt and we will be in the same situation we were just in.

    • remylebeau

      I want to know how the far right settler parties and the ultra-orthodox are going to work out Haredi military service. That might be the downfall of the coalition even before Kulanu bolts (like every other centrist party that’s joined Bibi’s coalition).

  • Hagar32Grady

    Senator Grampa Walnut-Cheeks is soooo Right , this President should curb his anger. I feel he should apologize to PM Nutty-yahoo, toots sweet. …. decades of support and this PM would dash it all for political gain (I do not care if he thinks he is correct it isn’t his call)

  • Official Teabagger

    Who is one of the biggest “welfare queens” suckling off the United States? Yeah, mmm…

    • APV

      Economic aid to Israel has stopped since 2007. The current aid is mostly for military (which mainly helps US defense contractors & firms to export) for Israel to maintain qualitative military edge over that of its neighboring countries. Some of the aid is also for resettlement of immigrants to Israel.

      The diplomatic cover that US provides for Israel in the UN is much more valuable.

      • lostintheswamp

        maybe that’s why their economy is so crappy right now … no economic aid from us ….

        • Zornorph

          Except Israel’s economy is actually doing fairly well at the moment.

        • APV

          Israel’s economy has been doing well recently (as Zornorph says) and is projected to grow. Investment in high tech has been excellent. But housing has become unaffordable and income inequality has widened as only a small % of the Israeli population is experiencing the benefits of the high tech growth and stock market gains. From Paul Krugman’s NY Times recent article, just 20 families control companies that account for half the total value of Israel’s stock market.

      • HelenRainier

        The military aid we send to Israel should be diverted to help the Palestinians defend themselves against Israeli incursions.

        • BarryR

          No, it should not. They are not the good guys, nor are they the lesser of two evils. They harbor terrorists and celebrated in the streets after 9/11. Whatever we think of Israel and Bibi – and it ain’t much – the Palestinians are not peaceful innocents.

          • zola98

            What do you think Mossad is if not a terrorist group? I don’t appreciate those bastards using (fake)foriegn passports including Canadian to travel to other countries murdering their so called enemies. They are freedom fighters, not terrorists.
            Secondly any oppressed people will fight back, it’s human nature, even animals fight back if/when they are threatened.

          • BarryR

            Your definition of terrorist is lacking here. Terrorists kill innocent people in order to terrorize a population. They blow people up indiscriminately. Mossad, as other such organizations have done in the past, kills specific people who are considered a direct threat to Israel.
            Describing people who blow up school buses and supermarkets as “freedom fighters” demonstrates your international preferences and a dubious morality as well.

          • E_Grise

            Ummm. Let’s not start throwing around accusations of immorality, OK? This is obviously a topic about which people passionately disagree, and name-calling does not help.

          • zola98

            I consider them terrorists despite your definition. Coming from a former British colony, I emphatize with the Palestanians being denied their rights and freedoms and have no problem with them fighting for their survival. They are not the terrorists. They referred to Mr. Mandella as a terrorist too, though it wasn’t the ANC that started the mass killings but the brutal aparthied regime of South Africa. Mr. Mandella and his group retaliated and was then listed as a terrorists by the US as well as England, Canada and other countries. It’s a matter of perspective here and also ones personal history.

  • MYMY

    The real issue is not just that Bibi ‘won’ but that as Haaretz author Besser notes, it showed how many Israelis ALSO reject the two-state solution. Ergo, there will be no resolution coming out of Israel.

    Ezra Klein has catalogued the many, many times Israeli prime ministers have been at loggerheads with American presidents–Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and now Obama. But never before has an Israeli PM gone out of his way to insult the United States so baldly.

    If the UN decides that there should be a two-state solution imposed, with a return to the Green Line and land swaps… perhaps that IS the only viable solution.

    I tend to think that ever since Bibi first won in the 90s, and Rupert Murdoch purchased the Jerusalem Post, then Sheldon Adelson introduced a “FREE” newspaper that has caused other newspapers to lose market share, the politics in Israel has become as stupidized as in the US.

    What I still do not comprehend is how a small handful of really, really insane right wing to the point of radical revolutionaries of the right octogenarians like the Kochs and Murdoch and nonagenarians like Adelson decided that they wanted the power to “rule the world.”

    They’re like evil villains straight out of James Bond.

    • RepubAnon

      The only remaining solution that allows Israel to continue existing is the 2-state solution. From the sounds of things, President Obama is ready to let the UN Security Council resolve the matter.

    • HelenRainier

      Murdoch owns the Jerusalem Post? Didn’t know that. Likewise, I didn’t know Adelson is circulating a “free” paper there — which I’m sure is full of Zionist propaganda.

      • actually it’s full of Bibi propaganda. You realize the liberals in Israel also tend to be Zionists?

        • evave2

          The business about the Jerusalem Post, I knew about the Bibi Times. It’s FREE and the largest circulation newspaper in Israel. Pro Bibi 24/7.

        • HelenRainier

          Yes, I do realize that, but does it make a difference?

          • well, it’s puzzling that your concern about Adelson’s paper is that it might be pro-Zionist

  • cmb

    How different is Netanyahu’s (and Israel’s) repudiation of the 2-state solution (the path to a Palestinian state) from Arab states claiming that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist?

    • APV

      Most Arab states are not Democracies. Israel has a higher threshold as it is a Democracy. It cannot have populations within its borders who do not have the right to vote in national elections or cannot claim the right to self-determination.

      In the long run, the demographics is not in Israel’s favor. A 2-state solution now is better than one in the future. If all of the population within the one-state border get the right to vote in the Israeli election, Jewish parties will be outnumbered.

    • terjeanderson

      I’m not sure that’s the current official policy of any Arab country.

      The Arab League Peace Initiative adopted unanimously by all members in 2002 (and reaffirmed in 2007) explicitly included recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

      While it is true that many Arab countries don’t currently recognize the government of Israel and don’t have diplomatic relations, that isn’t the same as saying they have no right to exist. (It is also not the same as rejecting Israel’s recognition as a “Jewish state”, which most Arab countries reject…)

      Thinking in the Arab world has advanced remarkably in terms of realpolitik in recent years. While some radical faction and terror groups explicitly reject the right to exist, most governments accept the reality and the right of Israel.

      That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a ton of anger and resentment towards Israel in the Arab world and among Arab leaders (and that may get worse with Bibi’s increasingly hard line words and actions), but the “right to exist” debate is largely a red herring these days.

      • Chris B

        Go crack open some atlases and maps in Arab schools and get back to us on that.

        • terjeanderson

          Go find some citations of official government policies and get back to us on that.

          • BarryR

            The problem is that official government policy is not reflected in schools or public attitudes. The other problem is that recognizing Israel’s right to exist without recognizing it as a Jewish state is saying very little. It is the flip side to Bibi’s vague “someday there will be a Palestinian state somewhere when they are ready, which they aren’t now or for the forseeable future”. Neither side has a partner for peace or, for that matter, civility.

    • even if that were a valid point how would it bear on the US strategy for Israel?

      • cmb

        I think it matters because it means our partner in the IP peace process, Israel, has given up on our once-shared goal and now has a different outlook and goal.

        That is a major change and if peace is not what either the Israeli government or the Palestinians are working toward, all of our own IP efforts have to be reconsidered.

  • John Doe

    Isolate and marginalize Bibi. He is deeply unpopular with our European allies. There is only one group that really loves him..Republicans.

    China and Russia will bail out Iran given how divided Europe/President Obama and Nethanyahoo are. There is no chance of any sanctions being honored by the rest of the international community..especially China and Russia. The rest of the world will agree to to some kind of deal. Netanyahoo unwittingly strengthened Iran’s hand.

    • APV

      Netanyahu has been strengthening Irans’s hand for the past several years. His support for the Iraq war & over throwing of Saddam Hussein allowed for Iran to gain an upper hand in Baghdad.

  • Zornorph

    Obama has been looking for a reason to slap down Israel right from the start. Netanyahu would be wise to keep his head down and do his best to ride out the rest of this administration. Whereas Obama won’t be able to get congress to go along with anything, he certainly can cause a lot of damage to Israel in the UN and other diplomatic circles. The other thing that they should do is work on strengthening ties with France.

    • APV

      Netanyahu and Likud’s interests are not in the larger interest of Israel, the region, and U.S.

      Bill Clinton was one of the architects to place the 2-state solution as the foundation for the U.S. foreign policy in the region. If Hillary Clinton becomes the next President I don’t think Netanyahu can expect a more favorable acceptance for his right wing lurch and his selfish attempts to undermine decades worth of painful work towards peace.

      • zola98

        HRC is very pro Israel, I think she will support Nutty N Yahoo if whatever he does. Remember her campaign statement about obliterating Iran? Though I know it was just campaign talk, I was very offended by it. Glad she lost to Obama then and still don’t trust or like her.

    • Inkan1969

      Aren’t you presuming a lot by asserting that Obama wants to slap down Israel? It sounds more like you’re projecting on Obama.

      Netanyahu is the one doing great damage to Israel with his lack of seriousness about the two-state solution. His statement before the election could’ve given Palestininians the incentive to abandon all attempts to reach a deal with Israel, and instead push for a one-state solution on the strength of the mandate’s demographics. Netanyahu’s statement could’ve led to the destruction of Israel.

      • Zornorph

        I don’t consider either the ‘one state’ or ‘two state’ solution (as it’s usually understood today) to be viable at this point in time. As such, Netanyahu was simply stating something that most Israelis understand and agree with. Which is part of why he did so well in the voting.

        • markms

          I wonder whether those Israelis who voted for Netanyahu because of his renouncement of the Oslo Accords/Two State Solution believe him now that he has renounced his renouncement. But, I suppose it might be possible that those voters understand that the renouncement of the renouncement was just something Netanyahu had to do to gain favor with the United States – again. It’s just politics and money, you know. And, they expect that the United States won’t get all whiny and peeved like those pesky Palestinians do when they get jerked around for political reasons. Maybe they’ve gone too far in such expectations, now that Obama is finally doing something unexpected and out-of-character.

          • evave2

            From your mouth (fingers?) to God’s ear (eyes). THAT is the power in the relationship: the power to actually vote or not vote in the UN. What did Netanyahu THINK was going to happen after he blew up the two-state solution? I liked Obama saying “I take him at his work” because, WHEW!

          • markms

            What more can I say (type)? Netanyahu is a flip-floppy yahoo with an American Likud (GOP) cheering him on.

  • Chris B

    “we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region.”

    Um … and the last 50 years have been what exactly? The fact is a 2 state solutions has always been a fairy tale, but one just believable enough for American presidents to parade Israeli PM after PM, Palestinian leader after Palestinian leader to Washington or wherever else to shake hands, sign agreements, and help said presidents try and get reelected. The fact is the last true chance was when President Clinton got Ehud Barak to give on almost everything, and Arafat walked away. The other dirty little secret is other Arab countries absolutely do not care about the Palestinians or they would let them emigrate.

    There must be a single-state solution where Israel figures out a way to fully incorporate Palestinians in their country. I don’t know how this can happen because, while I saw someone say Israel is a theocracy, that isn’t entirely false. It is a Jewish state founded by Jews for Jews because for 300 years every country of Europe had thrown them out or massacred them. There must be a way for the two sides to exist within Israel while maintaining its identity as a Jewish state.

    By the way, I have very little use for Netanyahu. I detested the way he used our Congress as a reelection campaign event, I dislike him undermining our president even if I’m not a supporter of said president, and I detest his brinksmanship-without-diplomacy. This iron-clad US-Israel alliance is largely something that started when George W. Bush was president. So it hasn’t been around that long. Netanyahu would do well to follow the lead of the last true hard-right prime minister, Menachim Begin, who made peace with Egypt.

    • Guest

      “There must be a way for the two sides to exist within Israel while maintaining its identity as a Jewish state.”

      Why? That hardly seems fair, especially since the demographics suggest that Palestinians would eventually comprise the majority of a single state. Not exactly an equitable and democratic solution. The only way to ensure the Jewish character of Israel continues is a two-state solution.

    • markms

      There was a single state solution for Israel up until the Oslo Accords set up the parameters for a two-state solution in 1993. The reason the Jewish and Christian and Muslim leaders of Palestine/Israel signed on to the 1993 accords is because the single state solution had not been working very well at all for the previous 45 years. The Jewish inhabitants kept encroaching on non-Israeli parts of Palestine – and the non-Jewish Palestinians kept getting peeved about it, for some reason. Netanyahu wants to go back to the single-state solution. I suppose he wants to do that because he is being honest about wanting to have even more Jewish settlements in the Palestinian parts of the two-state area.

      • BarryR

        That is flat out nonsense. In 1947, the UN proposed a three state solution, Israel, a Palestinian state, and an international Jerusalem. This was accepted by the Jewish leaders and rejected by the Arabs, who wanted no Jewish state. After the formation of Israel, up until 1967, Israel controlled none of the territories, so they were not in any position to create a Palestinian state. Their policy was that Jordan was where the Palestinian state was intended and that is where it should be. Nobody in the world was pressuring Jordan to establish a Palestinian state, that didn’t happen until Israel controlled that territory after the 1967 war.
        Of course, until 1988, there was no evidence the Palestinians were in favor of a two-state solution, since they didn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. It is also worth noting that in the Camp David Accords in 1978, Israel gave back the Sinai to Egypt, dismantling settlements – a clear indication of a willingness to trade land for peace.
        There is little evidence at the moment that either side is capable of coming to an agreement of any kind. The problem here is that Israel’s hostility to the concept is an asinine political decision, one which will be very damaging to Israel’s future.

        • markms

          The REAL problem DID arise in 1947. The resident Palestinians in 1947 were too backwards and not altruistic enough to accept that there had to be a new state within Palestine. If only those old timey residents of Palestine could be as gracious in ceding their lands as the aborignal tribes of America have been throughout the centuries there wouldn’t be any need for internationally-arrived-at accords. Maybe putting Palestinian natives on reservations could be an option for peace, though.

          I do agree with you that Israel should be less hostile to the concept of a two-state solution. The Palestinians should also be better sports about how important it is for Netanyahu to stay in power. The United States, however, should try to appear more neutral, if it is to be seen as an honest broker for peace in the area.

    • ralph_wiggam

      US-Israeli alliance started with GWB???

      Wow, talk about ignorance. Please read a bit of history before making such stupid statements. The Israeli-US relationship was a cornerstone of the Cold War in the middle east and political support for Israel started with Truman, who, like the brits, supported the government of Israel from the very start.

      BTW, Begin would be considered a moderate in today’s Israel much as Reagan would be a moderate today.

      • Chris B

        It was but American presidents were never afraid to smack them on the noise. Let me put it this way … this mythical unbreakable bond between the US and Israel where everything they do is right no matter what started with GWB. The almost religious devotion among Republican is a relatively new thing the neocons want us to believe has been around forever. Even during the Cold War, Israel was spying on us.

        As for Begin, I kind of doubt that. I mean, he blew up the King David Hotel. I don’t know if he could ever be classified as a moderate lol.

        • ralph_wiggam

          Were you alive in the 80s? I was and the same debate about the unique relationship between the US and Israel was going on then as well.

          I remember Begin and Sadat. Believe me, Begin was a moderate compared to Netanyahu. If he werent, Camp David would never have come to fruition. Begin was a moderate because he was a pragmatist. Netanyahu will never be accused of that when it comes to the Arabs.

  • rssrai

    Palestinians should go to the UN and ask for recognition of a Palestinian country or state or whatever you want to call it, and the US should back them. It is now time for the crap to hit the fan. Israel is treating Palestinians the same way the US treated native Americans stealing their land.

    • Chris B

      how on earth could a Palestinian state be viable?

      • Zornorph

        Who cares if it is viable? It will likely be a beggar nation, but that’s what they are now, anyway, so how will that be different?

        • zola98

          Careful with your language/history. Israel is and has been a ‘beggar’ nation ever since it’s inception. It would not be wher it is today if not for American tax dollars supporting it. Palestanians were doing well prior to the creation of the state of Israel. It’s time Israel reimbursed them for the land, homes and other assests they stole from the Palestanians.

        • Lumpenproletariat

          Yeah, it’s weird!

          I mean, sure, there’s a blockade of the air, land, and sea. And, sure, Israel’s reduced their infrastructure to rubble on a semi-regular basis. And the farmers are behind barriers that require regularly-denied visitors permits to access. And, OK, the vast series of checkpoints and roadblocks hamper travel for trade or jobs. And since 1967 Israel has uprooted more than 800,000 olive trees, which costs the 80,000 Palestinian families who are ecnomically reliant on those trees about 12.3 million a year.

          And, I’ll grant you that altogether Israeli restrictions on the West Bank have cost the Palestinian ecnomy $3.4 billion a year, whic his about 35 percent of their GDP.

          But what I don’t understand is why they just refuse to prosper.

  • mhandrh

    The RWers will say what they will (predictably) but Obama is being firm with Netanyahu and so he should.
    Bibi does not respect the president as a world leader – but he sure likes the money he gets from the US annually. He isn’t happy that Obama is fair, and recognizes the rights and plight of the Palestinians as they are surrounded by the ever-encroaching Israeli settlements, depriving them of ordinary life and commerce.
    If Bibi has to hear a few harsh words from the President, so be it — he deserves a lot harsher treatment than words.

    • APV

      Agree, Netanyahu needs some tough love. US will not be able to act as a honest and trusted broker if he gets away with thumbing his nose at Israel’s allies and the peace process, just in narrow self-interest.

    • zola98

      I truly think there’s some racism involved in NUTTY n Yahoo’s attitude towards Obama. I think he thought he could and would always have the upper hand in dealing with Obama only to be shocked to realise that PO does not feel inferior to anyone including the ‘great’ Nutty n Yahoo and is therefore not a pushover.
      I think that’s the mistake RethugliCons/Teabaggies made also.

    • oldhandatthis

      Anybody paying attention for the last six years knows Obama stands firm when he believes he is right. I suspect Netanyahu is going to draw more than public harsh language from the President. I would not be surprised to see the USA not veto a UN resolution concerning Israel, especially if it is carefully worded.

  • mhandrh

    McCain is defending Netanyahu by referring to his impolitic remarks as mere “campaign rhetoric.”
    I’d like to see McCain join with his old friend, Joe Lieberman, and they go off to live in Israel where they will live happily ever after.

    • evave2

      I don’t think that is a viable solution either. But yesterday’s performance by McCain (get over it and be an adult) does not compute with the dude who signed the 47 Ronin letter without reading it because he was catching a PLANE. Hey, dude, adults read their goddam mail, too.

  • Phaedrus

    There is no n-state solution that Bibi really wants. A solution implies peace. Peace would be the end of Likud.

  • oldhandatthis

    I would say the White House has made it crystal clear Netanyahu crossed the line and won’t be getting a pass for his outrageous behavior and statements. All the wailing of congressional Republicans won’t help him either. I am not sure Netanyahu will be able to redeem himself or if Obama will ever be able to fully trust him going forward.

  • growe

    Poor Bibi, you like the Republicans mistook intelligence for weakness.
    Here’s a news flash. Obama is President for 22 more long months.
    When it’s a coin toss for 22 months, Israel loses.
    And tough shit. Your voters had a chance to correct their awful mistake.