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Likud politicians mock Obama AIPAC speech
By GIL HOFFMAN
03/04/2012
Labor's Yacimovich calls the speech "unquestionably pro-Israel"; Livni blames Netanyahu for tensions.
 
Israeli reactions to US President Barack Obama’s speech at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday were divided along party lines.

Deputy Negev and Galilee Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) criticized Obama for saying that too much bluster played into Iranian hands and suggesting that it led to higher gas prices.

“There is a saying that it’s easier to watch a fire from far away,” Kara said. “We are facing an existential threat, not the US. If Israel doesn’t bluster, the US will also be in danger, because Iran’s missiles will reach them too. Israel is doing everything possible to keep the world safe, and it’s unfortunate that the White House doesn’t see things the way we see them here.”

MK Danny Danon (Likud) mocked Obama’s promises to protect Israel’s security.

He said history had proven that Israel can rely only on itself.

“Looking back at the way the United States criticized Israel for destroying the nuclear reactor in Iraq, Israel must make its decisions based on its own good judgment,” Danon said.

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich called Obama’s speech unquestionably pro-Israel.

In a speech in Herzliya, she wished Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu well in his meeting with the president.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni blamed tension between Netanyahu and Obama on the prime minister. She predicted that there would be a large gap between Obama’s praise for Israel in his speech and what he would say to Netanyahu behind closed doors.

“Relations between Israel and the US have become political during Netanyahu’s term,” she said. “Netanyahu made Israel an issue in the American election and it’s a mistake. Netanyahu must understand that relations with the US are an essential need.

Our deterrence depends on it. He will be tested on whether he is able to draft the US into our interests or whether he will continue just manipulating internal American politics.”
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