Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will continue protecting Israel's vital national security interests, sources close to Netanyahu said Tuesday in response to sharp, pre-election criticism of Netanyahu's leadership attributed to US President Barack Obama.
The sources defined those interests as "first and foremost preventing Iran from achieving, nuclear military capability, refusing to return to the 1967 lines, and maintaining a united Jerusalem as Israel's capital."
Netanyahu "will continue to protect those interests" in the coming government that he will lead, the sources said. The sources noted that Obama himself has said Israeli-US defense and security cooperation were at unprecedented levels, something that was evident by the US support for the Iron Dome anti-missile system, and Washington's support for Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.
Obama was quoted by US columnist Jeffrey Goldberg in Bloomberg as having said privately that "Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are." Goldberg, a sharp critic himself of Netanyahu and the country's settlement policies, wrote that "with each new settlement announcement, in Obama's view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near isolation."
Goldberg wrote that Obama's comment came shortly after the UN General Assembly voted on November 29 to upgrade the Palestinian status, a move followed by Netanyahu's announcement that he would move forward plans to develop E1, and build 3,000 units in east Jerusalem and the settlement blocks.