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Obama criticises Netanyahu's change of heart on Palestine

world Updated: Mar 22, 2015 20:43 IST
Yashwant Raj

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to walk back from his electoral promise of "no Palestinian state" on his watch, but President Barrack Obama won’t let him.

“We take him at his word when he said that it (Palestinian state) wouldn't happen during his prime ministership,” Obama has said in an interview to Huffington Post, adding, “so that's why we've got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region.”

Obama and Netanyahu share a testy relationship, which hit a new low earlier this month with the prime minister criticizing the president’s Iran initiative in a joint address to US congress.

The White House dismissed Netanyahu’s criticism as “nothing new” and then slammed the prime minister’s pre-election remarks that he doesn’t believe in a two-state solution. That, in other words, he won’t allow an independent Palestinian state.

The response from US was sharp. “The prime minister’s recent statements call into question his commitment to a two-state solution,” said state department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

And now, with elections over and the prime ministership in the bag, Netanyahu tried to walk back from it.

“I don’t want a one-state solution; I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution, but for that, circumstances have to change. I was talking about what is achievable and what is not achievable,” he said in an interview to MSNBC.

The White House doesn’t want to let him off the hook easily, it seems. And President Obama’s remarks that the US may re-evaluate its options seems intended to hold him to it.

Obama brought up the issue also in his congratulatory call, which he made two days after election results, and not immediately as in the case of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.