Netanyahu answers Obama’s criticism
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responding to comments attributed to President Obama, said that Israelis would determine the country’s best interests. “Only the Israeli people will determine who best represents the State of Israel’s vital interests,” Netanyahu reportedly said Jan. 17 during a visit to the Gaza Division of the Israeli army.
“Over the past four years Israel has withstood tremendous diplomatic pressures. They insisted that we curb our demand for action on Iran; that we withdraw back to the 1967 lines; that we divide Jerusalem — that we stop building in Jerusalem. We fought against those pressures. I will continue to safeguard Israel’s vital interests, for its security,” said the prime minister, whose Likud Party in tandem with Yisrael Beiteinu stands poised to take the most Knesset seats in the Jan. 22 elections.
The comments came a day after Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in Bloomberg that when Obama was told the Israeli government had approved plans to advance the development of housing in the controversial E-1 corridor between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem, “Obama said privately and repeatedly, ‘Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.’ With each new settlement announcement, in Obama’s view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation.”