Despite, enormous peacemaking efforts past several decades, the Israeli-Palestine conflict is still deemed as one of the most intractable conflicts in the world, and no end seems in sight.
Yesterday, in an interview aired on Israeli television Channel 2’s Uvda program, President Barack Obama once again criticized Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy for backing settlements in the occupied territory. These actions he believes are making a future Palestinian state unviable.
“Bibi says that he believes in the two-state solution and yet his actions consistently have shown that if he is getting pressured to approve more settlements he will do so regardless of what he says about the importance of the two-state solution,” Obama said.
He went on to say that the Israeli reaction to the US, abstaining recently on the UN resolution 2334 and Netanyahu calling it a stab in the back, consisted of hyperbole. The resolution demanded an end to Israeli settlement building.
President Obama also faced domestic criticism for the US non-action on the resolution both from Republicans and from pro-Israel Democrats like Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, also issued a statement condemning the Obama Administration.
“It is deeply troubling that this biased resolution appears to be the final word of the administration on this issue,”
Obama, who leaves office on January 20, said that in the past few years, both he and US Secretary of State John Kerry, had “countless times” appealed to Netanyahu to stop settlement activity. But, those pleas were ignored.
“Increasingly what you are seeing is that the facts on the ground are making it almost impossible, at least very difficult, and if this trend line continues – impossible, to create a contiguous, functioning Palestinian state,” Obama told the Channel Two’s host.
Netanyahu, on the other hand, has blamed the Obama administration of focusing exclusively on Jewish settlements and not addressing “the root of the conflict – Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state in any boundaries,” according to Netanyahu.
The last eight years have seen an increasingly strained relationship between the two leaders, on many issues especially on Israeli settlement-building and the Iranian nuclear deal. This culminated in December, when the US did not exercise its veto to stop a UN Security Council resolution that demanded the end to Israeli settlement.
Israel expects to receive a more favorable treatment from Obama’s successor, President-elect Donald J. Trump. Who has been vociferous in his support for Israel. In various pro-Israel and pro-Netanyahu tweets, Trump has denounced the Obama administration’s Israel policy. He has also vowed to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On the eve of the vote on the UN, Donald Trump had called for US support for Israel.
not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2016
Donald Trump has also named, David Friedman, ambassador to Israel, who has raised money previously for Jewish settlements in the west bank. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who he has appointed as advisor is also Jewish.
The interviewer asked Obama whether he had any further surprises for Israel before leaving or whether Netanyahu could sleep soundly until January 20. “Well, I think there’s an interesting question as to whether he’ll sleep better after January 20.”
An estimated 600,000 Israelis now live in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem along with 2 million indigenous Palestinians.