Jeffrey Goldberg: PM has ‘weeks’ to prove he supports two-state solution

White House ‘not buying’ Netanyahu’s walk-back, unlikely to expend political capital protecting Israel at UN

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the press during his visit in Har Homa, on March 16, 2015. (Menahem Kahana/AFP))
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the press during his visit in Har Homa, on March 16, 2015. (Menahem Kahana/AFP))

President Barack Obama is unlikely to make the effort to save Israel from UN pressure on Palestinian statehood, the well-connected US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg estimated Friday, amid the current deep crisis in ties between the two countries’ leaderships.

“President Obama is not particularly interested in spending political capital on behalf of [re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu in order to block a resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood,” Goldberg wrote, summing up ties in the wake of the Likud leader’s election victory on Tuesday.

Although Netanyahu on Thursday walked back his pre-election renunication of support for a Palestinian state, “it is obvious that the White House is not buying the walk-back,” Goldberg wrote, in an article Friday entitled “Israel’s Dangerous Predicament.”

Obama and Netanyahu had what has been described in Israel as a “difficult” phone call on Thursday, during which the president left Netanyahu with “the impression that he intends to abandon Israel at the UN,” Channel 10 reported Friday.

Thus “It is up to Netanyahu, in the coming weeks, to show he is actually committed to preserving the possibility of a two-state solution,” Goldberg suggested.

The journalist, who has interviewed both Obama and Netanyahu recently, noted that, “if the Security Council recognizes Palestine as an independent state, Netanyahu will have no time at all to get his house in order before Israel becomes a true pariah.”

Goldberg said he’d had several conversations with mainstream American Jewish leaders “and they are uniformly, and deeply, anxious” about Israel’s future in the wake of the elections. “The message was the same: Netanyahu’s next, even-more-right-wing-than-usual government, they fear, will only take steps to further Israel’s isolation, from America and from the world, and the Obama administration, which feels such deep, emotional anger toward Israel, will only make the situation worse, by misunderstanding, and downplaying, Israel’s anxieties.”

“Sad but true,” he noted, “some Israelis voted for Netanyahu because they’re frightened of Obama.”

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