Netanyahu’s betrayal accusations politically motivated: Obama

Netanyahu’s betrayal accusations politically motivated: Obama

Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:36AM

US President Barack Obama has rejected Israeli allegations that he orchestrated the recent UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

In an interview with an Israeli TV channel, to be broadcast in full on Thursday, Obama said the accusations of betrayal hurled at him by US Republicans and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were politically motivated.

Obama said that the allegations against his administration “may work well with deflecting attention from the problem of settlements, they may play well with Bibi’s political base, as well as the Republican base here in the United States, but they don’t match up with the facts.”

The UN Security Council voted 14-0 last month to pass Resolution 2334, which demanded an immediate end to Israel’s “illegal” settlement activities.

The US decided to abstain – and not veto – the resolution, allowing it to be adopted. The move angered Netanyahu who accused President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry of being behind the “shameful” act.

The Obama administration has denied accusations that it was behind the UN resolution, and argued that the abstention was in line with the official US policy which views the settlements as a major impediment to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When asked by the Israeli channel whether it was appropriate for an outgoing president to support such initiatives, Obama said, “I have an obligation to do what I think it right.”

Then the US president was asked how he could sleep after his administration allowed the Security Council to rebuke Israel.

“I think the interesting question is whether Netanyahu will sleep better after January 20,” when President-elect Donald Trump takes office, Obama shot back.

The Obama administration has told the Israeli prime minister that only he was responsible for Washington’s decision to allow the Security Council to adopt Resolution 2334.

US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said last month that Netanyahu did not pay attention to repeated warnings from the Obama administration that increased settlement construction on the occupied Palestinian lands could lead to greater pressure from the international community.

Trump has already vowed to change course after he takes office. “We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the US, but not anymore,” Trump has said in a series of tweets. “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

However, given that most of the world is opposed to the Israeli settlements, the Security Council action will be almost impossible for anyone, including Trump, to reverse.