Obama Takes Uneasy Stance with Netanyahu, Israel: Can’t Just ‘Hold Hands and Sing Kumbaya’

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

WASHINGTON D.C. – At the East Room of the White House today, President Obama signaled that he wasn’t prepared to forget Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments characterized as rejecting the idea of a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Referring to Netanyahu’s statement before the election, Obama said he “took him at his word,” even though the Israeli Prime Minister walked back his statement after winning the Israeli election.

Obama signaled frustration that the media continued to portray the conflict between himself and Netanyahu as personal.

“I have a very businesslike relationship with the prime minister,” he said, using the same word that he often applies to his relationship with Vladimir Putin.

“He is representing his country’s interests the way he thinks he needs to and I’m doing the same,” he said calling the issue of the two state solution a “clear substantive challenge.”

Obama indicated that he wanted to see a clear framework for a two-state solution with Palestine before he was willing to take Netanyahu at his word.

“This can’t be reduced to a matter of, let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya,” Obama said seriously.


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