Deep rifts? Between the US administration and Netanyahu?
The White House issued a passionate call for eventual Palestinian statehood on Monday as it stepped up criticism of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, for appearing to question a two-state solution to Middle East peace.
“An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end,” Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, told a conference of liberal activists in Washington. “Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely,” he added.
“A ‘one-state solution’ would effectively end Israel’s nature as a Jewish and democratic state,” he added. “Unilateral annexation of the West Bank territories would be both wrong and illegal. The United States would never support it, and it’s unlikely Israel’s other friends would either. It would only contribute to Israel’s isolation.”
The United States will not take the floor at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday as it debates human rights violations committed in the Palestinian territories, a US spokesman told Reuters.
The step is unprecedented at the 47-member state forum, where Washington has unfailingly defended Israel since US President Barack Obama became president in 2009.
The decision not to appear follows signals that the Obama administration is undertaking a “reassessment” of relations with the Jewish state.
Not before time.