Courtesy of Uvda, Keshet Productions
US President Barack Obama gave an interview with Israeli media on Tuesday, in which he threatened that an Israeli refusal to renew peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) will "make it hard" for the US to veto motions in the UN against Israel.
In an interview with Ilana Dayan for Channel 2's "Uvda" (Fact) TV show aired Tuesday night, Obama commented on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statements before elections in which he said that a Palestinian state won't be founded on his watch.
Obama noted that later Netanyahu distanced from the statement and "suggested that there is the possibility of a Palestinian state. But it has so many caveats, so many conditions, that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met anytime in the near future."
Those conditions have included the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and demilitarization, conditions that proved problematic in the last round of peace talks that Obama pushed into existence in late 2013.
The president continued, "and so the danger here, is that…Israel as a whole loses credibility. Already the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two states solution…the statement the Prime Minister made compounded that…belief that there's not a commitment there."
Describing Netanyahu, Obama said, "I think that he also is someone who has been skeptical about the capacity of Israelis and Palestinians to come together on behalf of peace. I think that he is also a politician, who's concerned about keeping coalitions together and maintaining his office."
"Netanyahu…is somebody who's predisposed to think of security first. To think perhaps that peace is naive," he continued. "To see the worst possibilities, as opposed to the best possibilities in Arab partners or Palestinian partners, and so I do think that right now, those politics, and those fears are driving the government's response. And, I understand it, but…what may seem wise and prudent on the short-term, can actually end up being unwise over the long-term."
No US backing in the UN?
Obama then issued a threat to Israel, referring to his remarks after the recent Israeli elections when he said America would have to reasses its policy towards Israel, and clarifying that at the time he was referring to something specific.
"If there are additional resolutions introduced in the United Nations…up until this point we have pushed away against European efforts for example, or other efforts. Because we've said, the only way this gets resolved is if the two parties worked together," he said, referring to European moves to unilaterally recognize the PA as a state.
The president said security aid to Israel won't cease, but warn that, "if in fact, there's no prospect of an actual peace-process, if nobody believes there's a peace process, then it becomes more difficult, to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction, those who are concerned about the current situation, it's more difficult for me to say to them 'be patient! wait! Because we have a process here.' Because, all they need to do is to point to the statements that have been made saying there is no process."
The last round of peace talks, which were torpedoed by the PA last April when it joined international conventions in breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords and sealed a unity deal with the Hamas terrorist organization, only brought the release of 78 Arab terrorists.
Referencing the Jewish nature of Israel, Obama said, "I am less worried about any particular disagreement that I have with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I am more worried about…an Israeli politics that's motivated only by fear. And that then leads to a loss of those core values, that when I was young and I was admiring Israel from afar…were…the essence of this nation. There are things that you can lose, that don't just involve rockets."
Turning his attention to Iran and the deal being formed with it on its nuclear program ahead of a June 30 deadline, he claimed that sanctions have caused Iran to keep its agreements in negotiations.
"I've said that, in exchange for some modest relief in sanctions, that Iran is going to have to freeze its nuclear program, roll back on its stockpiles of very highly enriched Uranium – the very stockpiles that Prime Minister Netanyahu had gone before the United Nations, with his picture of the bomb and said that was proof of how dangerous this was."
"At that time, everybody said 'this isn't going to work! They're going to cheat, they're not going to abide by it.' And yet, over a year and a half later, we know that they have abided by the letter of it," claimed Obama.
His assertion is in fact false; Iranian nuclear fuel stockpiles grew by a massive 20% over the past 18 months of negotiations between Iran and world powers, as revealed in a report last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Obama had claimed their nuclear program would be "frozen" during negotiations, but the IAEA report clarifies that they indeed breached the conditions.