Netanyahu warns ministers: Obama could take further steps against Israel

PM urges ministers from his Likud party to stop criticizing the US president.

December 25, 2016 17:39
3 minute read.
obama israel

US President Barack Obama speaks at the Righteous Among the Nations Award Ceremony, organised by Yad Vashem, at Israel's Embassy in Washington January 27, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Likud ministers on Sunday to stop criticizing US President Barack Obama and calling for annexing territories and building in settlements as a response to UN Security Council Resolution 2334 that passed two days earlier.

In a meeting with Likud ministers, he warned them that Obama could follow up on his decision to abstain on the anti-Israel resolution by taking further steps against Israel before he leaves office on January 20.

Several ministers chose not to listen to Netanyahu and do exactly what he pleaded with them to refrain from doing.

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev told Army Radio that Obama allowed the resolution to pass because “his ego overcame his brains,” and that Israel should respond by immediately annexing all of Judea and Samaria.
US abstains from UN vote to end Israeli settlement building

“I wasn’t surprised by the actions of the Americans or the UN, because they were never our friends,” Regev said.

“I knew Obama was looking to take sweet revenge against Israel and Netanyahu. Since he [took office] in 2009, he has been hostile to settlements and Netanyahu. He revealed his true face with an anti-Israel decision, but Netanyahu and Israel will defeat him.”

Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who is the most moderate Likud minister, told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office that Israel felt betrayed by Obama.

“Thankfully, in 25 more days, the administration responsible for this horrible decision will be forced off the stage,” Hanegbi said. “I believe the next administration will clean this decision that stained the Obama administration. Obama surrendered to the Iranians, abandoned the Syrians, and stuck a knife in the backs of the Israelis.”

National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz told reporters outside the weekly cabinet meeting that he “does not blame President Obama for antisemitism but rather for an unfair and harsh act.

“This is not how friends act,” Steinitz said. “The United States never abandoned us to the automatic majority against us in the Security Council. I think Obama and [US Secretary of Stater John] Kerry will regret this unethical decision and be ashamed of it.”

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin told Israel Radio that the Obama “administration’s policies were against us for eight years.” He called the abstention at the UN “an act of revenge against American voters who chose Trump.”

Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin revealed that US Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to vote for the anti-Israel resolution.

Outside the Likud, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) told reporters on Sunday that Obama had abandoned Israel twice – at the UN on Friday and last year with his nuclear deal with Iran.

Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett appeared to criticize Netanyahu in a press conference at the Western Wall.

He said Netanyahu should not have endorsed a Palestinian state in his June 14, 2009, Bar-Ilan University speech, because Obama’s views on Israel were already clear following his speech at Cairo University 10 days earlier.

“It’s time for Israel to reevaluate its approach over the past 25 years, the approach where we adopted the Oslo Accords, the approach where we gave up territory in Gaza, the approach where we declared the need for a Palestinian state,” Bennett said.

“We thought this approach would gain us sympathy from the world, but instead we got tens of thousands of missiles from Gaza, thousands of Israelis murdered on the streets and one condemnation after another. It’s time to decide between two alternatives: surrendering our land, and sovereignty. We’ve tried surrendering our land, it didn’t work; it is time for sovereignty.

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