Echoing Obama, Olmert says PM isolating Israel

Former PM says Netanyahu threatens Israel's future by putting country at odds with US; says government "refusing peace."

January 17, 2013 13:20
1 minute read.
Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert

Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert [file] 370. (photo credit: Reuters / Pool)


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Former prime minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of threatening the nation’s future by placing the country in direct conflict with Washington.

“Is it in our interest to get into a blatant confrontation with the strongest man in the world?” Olmert asked during a conference in Tel Aviv, referring to US President Barack Obama. “Who builds airplanes? Likud Central Committee members who need to pose and flex muscles, or the president of the US?”

Olmert’s comments came after American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg earlier this week reported that Obama had said, “Israel doesn’t know what its best interests are,” and that Netanyahu was leading Israel into international isolation.

When asked at a Likud Beytenu event to respond to Olmert’s comments, Netanyahu stated: “We know how to take care of our own national interests and stand up to international pressure.”

According to Olmert, the Netanyahu government chooses to argue with Obama despite his aid to Israel.

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“Even when the American defense budget is cut, the US continues to support the Iron Dome [missile- defense system]. This is a president that says, in the middle of an argument, that he will not let Israel lose its [defense] advantage. But the Israeli government doesn’t think so,” Olmert told a business forum in Tel Aviv, sponsored by the University of Haifa.

Olmert also accused the government of “refusing peace. Refusing to take part in a process, refusing to talk to Palestinian moderates. It does not want an agreement. There is no other way to say it.”

The former prime minister added that world leaders fear for Israel’s future in light of its current diplomatic policies.

The comments come in the wake of Olmert’s recent attack on Netanyahu on Channel 2, in which the former prime minister accused Netanyahu of wasting billions of shekels in planning an operation against the Iranian nuclear threat.

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