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Is Obama failing to understand Mideast? Photo: AP
Is Obama failing to understand Mideast? Photo: AP
 
 

Netanyahu associate: Obama detached from reality

Prime minister’s associate slam US president’s speech, says ‘he didn’t deliver the goods,’ fails to understand Mideast realities. Israeli PM prepared for confrontation with Obama over vital issues, Netanyahu’s aides say

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 05.20.11, 02:21 / Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s associates expressed their disappointment with Barack Obama’s speech Thursday, with one aide saying that the US president is detached from regional realities.

 

The PM’s associates told Ynet early Friday that Netanyahu, who departed to the US Thursday night, is prepared for a confrontation withPresident Obama on vital issues.

 

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Referring to the US president’s Mideast policy speech, a Netanyahu associate said: “He (Obama) didn’t deliver the goods…Obama apparently does not understand the reality in the Mideast.”

 

The PM’s aides added that Obama’s historic speech lacked many key points and that his address was “bad for Israel.” Netanyahu himself issued a quick response to the speech earlier, demanding that the president reaffirm previous US pledges that Israel will not be asked to withdraw to the 1967 borders in the framework of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

 

In his Washington speech, Obama said that a Jewish, democratic state must be based on the 1967 borders, with territorial tradeoffs. The president voiced his objection to the Palestinian intention to seek UN recognition of statehood in September, but refrained from addressing the contentious issue of Palestinian refugees.

 

Obama also refrained from harshly slamming the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement, and reminded Netanyahu that the international community was getting tired of a process that has not culminated in a peace deal.

 

‘Bibi faces problematic coalition’  

A Netanyahu associate told Ynet that the president apparently “forgot the conditions set forth by the International Quartet, which Obama himself endorsed.”

 

The aide added that Obama did not meet any demand set forth by the prime minister, referring to Netanyahu’s recent speech where he declared that Israel will not give up settlement blocs and maintain a military presence along the Jordan River.

 

Obama also did not address in his speech the issue of Palestinian recognition of the Jewish State as a pre-condition for negotiations.

 

“Netanyahu is willing to offer painful concessions. In his Knesset speech, the prime minister went far,” a Bibi associate said. “He contends with a problematic rightist coalition. We expected Obama to understand this and take these issues into consideration in his speech.”

 

 

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