(JNS.org) Following comments by President Barack Obama that challenged him to “articulate an alternative approach” to a peace deal with the Palestinians if he does not believe a deal “is the right thing to do for Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s “vital interests” must be upheld in such an agreement.
“The tango in the Middle East needs at least three,” Netanyahu said Monday upon landing in the U.S. for a six-day visit. “For years there have been two—Israel and the U.S. Now it needs to be seen if the Palestinians are also present.”
“In any case, in order for us to have an agreement, we must uphold our vital interests,” he said. “I have proved that I do so, in the face of all pressures and all the turmoil, and I will continue to do so here as well.”
Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg reported that Obama planned to warn Netanyahu of a “bleak future” and a “demographic disaster” if Israel does not support U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians.
“There comes a point where you can’t manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices,” Obama told Goldberg in an interview published Sunday. “Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank? Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab-Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?”