Politicians on the Israeli Right expressed frustration with US President Barack
Obama’s focus on the need for Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians in
his speech on Tuesday to the UN General Assembly in New York.
politicians were particularly outraged by Obama’s statement that Israel’s
security as a Jewish and democratic state depends on the realization of a
“That is one of the worst statements by an American
president in history,” said Transportation Minister Israel Katz, who heads the
Likud’s governing secretariat. “Israel’s existence does not depend on anything,
especially not the Palestinians. The US helps Israel, but we have always known
to defend ourselves with our own force. We desire peace, but we will not take
unnecessary risks and we will not accept any solution that endangers our
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon called upon Netanyahu to
resist pressure from Obama on the Palestinian issue, which he said he expects
will only increase with time.
He also criticized Obama’s outreach to Iran
in the speech.
“At a time when steely resolve is needed in dealing with
the Iranian nuclear issue, we are instead hearing of premature concessions,”
Danon said. “If this is the new policy of the US administration, then our
government must remain vigilant and ready for the possibility of huge American
pressure in the current talks with the Palestinians.”
Danon, who heads
the Likud central committee, said he fully trusted Netanyahu to safeguard
Israel’s vital national interests in dealing with Iran and in the discussions
with the Palestinians. But he was less optimistic about the international
community, which he said must remain very wary of Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani, who he called a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
“I am worried that
some of our Western allies will want to view him as a moderate, to give
themselves an excuse to disengage from this issue,” Danon said. “Now is not the
time for concessions toward the regime of the ayatollahs. Instead, we should
press forward with crippling sanctions that will send a clear message of resolve
warning the Iranians that until they completely dismantle their nuclear program,
they cannot act as full members of the international community.”
Moshe Feiglin blamed what he did not like in Obama’s speech on Netanyahu and his
predecessors for accepting the creation of a Palestinian state. He said that
when Israel recognized a Palestinian people and its rights, it began a process
in which the right for there to be a Jewish state was delegitimized.
truth is the land is either ours or theirs, so if we recognize another nation’s
right to our land, we lost our rights,” Feiglin said. “Obama is misleading
Israeli citizens. A Palestinian state does not guarantee Israeli
security. It is a recipe for Israel’s destruction.”
leadership candidate Isaac Herzog responded to the US president’s speech by
saying that Netanyahu needed to choose between Obama and the family of nations
and rightists in his coalition.
“We don’t need Obama to tell us that not
reaching a diplomatic solution with the Palestinians and keeping the status quo
could endanger the continued existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and
democratic state,” Herzog said. “Israel must decide whether to bring about a
diplomatic agreement or wait for the world to force one on us.”
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