Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories ‘must end’ – White House chief of staff

RT | –

US officials continue to maintain that American policy towards Israel will undergo changes in the wake of pre-election comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he stated that no Palestinian state would be established on his watch.

Israel’s occupation of
Palestinian territories has lasted for nearly five decades and
“must end,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said in a
Monday address to the left-leaning Jewish American lobby group J
Street.

“Israel cannot maintain military control of another people
indefinitely,”
he said. “An occupation that has lasted
for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must
have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own
sovereign state.”

McDonough reiterated America’s long-standing support for a
two-state solution to the impasse between Israelis and
Palestinians – an agreement that would be based on 1967 lines and
include mutually agreed land swaps. However, he said Netanyahu’s
comments have cast doubt upon Israel’s commitment to such an
agreement, despite the prime minister’s attempts to backtrack in
the wake of his re-election on March 17.

“We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never
made, or that they don’t raise questions about the prime
minister’s commitment to achieving peace through direct
negotiations,”
McDonough told the crowd, as quoted by
the Guardian.

According to Haaretz, McDonough – one of Obama’s close advisers –
did not detail just how US policy would change over the coming
months, but he did reject the notion that US reaction to
Netanyahu’s comments is based on personal feelings of anger.
Netanyahu has had a troubled relationship with President Barack
Obama since he came into office, and the White House was widely
believed to have preferred a new leader to take the reins in
Israel.

McDonough said US commitment to Israel’s security and military
will remain. Several reports over the past week have suggested
that the US could stop shielding Israel from resolutions at the
United Nations that seek to recognize a Palestinian state or
outline the parameters of a two-state deal.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio, US
Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro also said America’s approach to
the country would be re-evaluated – again pointing to Netanyahu’s
comments.

“This was not Israel’s stance until those comments. It is
confusing and raises doubts regarding Israel’s true stance,”

Shapiro said, as quoted by Jewish news website JP Updates. “The question we are still
focusing on is how to progress towards the solution of two states
for two nations.”

READ MORE: US neocons rally to Netanyahu’s
defense, call Obama’s priorities ‘screwed up’

“I cannot deny that we have serious issues with some
statements said during the elections season. One of them is the
shirking of a ‘Palestinian’ state. We believe that it is the only
solution that will safeguard a Jewish and democratic Israel.
Netanyahu said that he will not lend a hand to the establishment
of a ‘Palestinian’ state so long as he is Prime Minister,”

Shapiro said.

Netanyahu has tried to walk back multiple comments since his
victory last week. He has denied changing his position on
Palestinian statehood, saying he actually meant that he doesn’t
believe the possibility for a Palestinian state exists in the
current political climate. Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron
Dermer also said that Netanyahu’s comments were misinterpreted.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, President Obama himself
stated that change could be coming, adding that the US is
“evaluating” its policy based on the prime minister’s
statements.

“We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen
during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to
evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we
don’t see a chaotic situation in the region,”
Obama said.

“We can’t just in perpetuity maintain the status quo, expand
settlements. That’s not a recipe for stability in the
region.”

Via RT

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“Obama’s top adviser Denis McDonough: Netanyahu comments ‘very troubling'”

8 Responses

  1. Unfortunately given Prime Minister Netanyahu´s willingness to adopt whatever policy position that suits him at the moment (a trait by no means unique to him) I am inclined to opt for a conservative stance and not trust his words, only actions. To date he has done nothing to lead me to believe he is interested in a legitmate two-state solution, plenty to confirm his lack of interest. If we accept the current stance at face value……whatever it happens to be……how long will it be before it is changed because a change serves Mr. Netanyahu´s preferences? As prime minister of a sovereign country he is entitled to adopt the postures he wishes, but as a sovereign country the United States has the right to differ and the responsibility not to reinforce his dangerous behavior.

  2. Quite a bold statement coming from the WH. About time too.
    Time to bring the OCCUPATION into focus, so far it has been a dirty word among American leaders, and the press. It would have been reasonable for journalists to bring up the occupation, every time there are rockets being sent from the occupied. It is as if there is a convenient amnesia among the pro zionist groups here, that, and the endless land thefts and illegal settlements, are hardly mentioned whenever this situation is discussed. It is always the fault of the Palestinians, who seem to be killed almost on a daily basis, and according to zionist narrative, WANT to live under a military occupation.
    It is sad that it took the arrogant behavior of Netanyahu to bring about this change in US policies. Netanyahu has been given unwavering support by our US Congress, and right now they are attacking Obama for this.

    I would like to see the media ask these Congress people if they supported this occupation and illegal settlements, and confront them as to how they stand in this issue. I am sure many will be uncomfortable answering that question.

  3. It is long past time for the USA government to be honest.

    A “two-state” solution is no longer possible. There is zero contiguous land west of the Jordan River available to form a new nation. All of the land has been populated by Israelis and there is ZERO chance anyone in Israel will ever clear enough space for Palestine. For the Israeli government to clear enough usable land, would require a very bloody civil war.

    Obama should go on national TV and flatly state that the peace process is dead, that there is no land for a Palestinian state. Then he should say that the USA will work with the UN to make every human west of the Jordan River a FULL citizen of Israel.

    Every human with half a brain on earth KNOWS that the “two-state” solution is 100% dead and buried, so why keep up the fiction?

    Obama should make Americans face the truth.

    If that upsets Israelis, so be it. They have screwed themselves with their settlement policy and will just have to live with it.

    Israelis CHOOSE to take all the land, ignoring the FACT that the humans came with the land. Now they need to treat the non-Jewish humans exactly the same as the Jewish humans.

    Why drag this out for a few more decades? Lets end the farce and get the non-Jews living west of the Jordan river the human rights they deserve..

  4. The WH endorsement of J Street should signal to many diaspora Jews it is OK to drift away from the right wing, republican AIPAC: there are options out there.

    J Street has been critical of Netanyahu lately – and that is helping to make a traditionally verboten topic kosher. It’s a very healthy development.

    Of course JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace) is still the best option for people of conscience, but it is relatively speaking a newbie organization.

  5. Senator Huckleberry wets his pants.

    “The language used by the chief of staff of the president of the United States is exactly what Hamas uses. Today, the chief of staff of the president of the United States used language that has been reserved for terrorist organizations.”
    – Lindsey Graham

  6. JStreet supports Israeli politicians such as Tzipi Livni. It’s leadership is in favor of annexation of major settlement blocks. It favors American mediation and is opposed to lifting of Gaza blockade. It views the solidarity student movement in the US as enemy of Israel. To choose JStreet as a venue, therefore, is not an indication of any shift in American policy. It is only a repackaging of the charade called Oslo or the Peace Process.

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