Tuesday at a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, President Barack Obama addressed his issues with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he can’t just sing Kumbaya with Netanyahu to solve their disagreement that a two-state solution is not likely soon.
Obama said, “I’ve heard a lot of commentary. There is a tendency I think in the reporting here to frame this somehow as a personal issue between myself and Prime Minister Netanyahu, and I understand why that is done. Because when you frame it in those terms, the notion is, well if we all just get along and everybody cools down, then somehow the problem goes away. I have a very business-like relationship with the prime minister and I’ve met with him more than any other world leader. I talk to him all of the time. He is representing his country’s interest the way he thinks he needs to and I’m doing the same. So the issue is not a matter of relations between leaders, the issue is a very clear substantive challenge. We believe that two states is the best path forward for Israel’s security, for Palestinian aspirations and for regional stability. That is our view and that continues to be our view. And Prime Minister Netanyahu has a different approach. And so this can’t be reduced to a matter of somehow let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. This is a matter of figuring out how we get through a real knotty policy difference.”
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