Barack Obama Says Two-State Solution 'Unlikely' After Benjamin Netanyahu's Comments

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that his differences with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are not personal but are based on fundamental policy differences over Middle East peace.

Obama said it was hard to envision a path to a two-state solution to the conflict - long sought by the United States - given Netanyahu’s pre-election comments that a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch.

Obama said he would evaluate how best to manage Israeli-Palestinian relations over the rest of his term as a result.

“The issue is not a matter of relations between leaders,” Obama told reporters at a news conference, noting that he has a “very businesslike relationship” with Netanyahu.

“This can’t be reduced to a matter of somehow let’s all, you know, hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya.’ This is a matter of figuring out how do we get through a real knotty policy difference that has great consequences for both countries and for the region,” Obama said.

Relations between the two leaders have been strained over U.S. efforts to reach an international agreement with Iran to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu has sought to walk back his comments about the two-state solution, but Obama said the “corrective” came with conditions that would be “impossible to meet any time soon” and said that the prospects of an agreement appeared dim.

“We can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy based on something that everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years,” Obama said, warning the issue could escalate.

“That may trigger, then, reactions by the Palestinians that, in turn, elicit counter-reactions by the Israelis, and that could end up leading to a downward spiral of relations that will be dangerous for everybody and bad for everybody,” he said.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Barack Obama Says Two-State Solution 'Unlikely' After Benjamin Netanyahu's Comments

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close