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March 3, 2014 11:34 am

Netanyahu After Obama Warning: ‘We Must Uphold Our Vital Interests’

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgFollowing comments by President Barack Obama that challenged him to “articulate an alternative approach” to a peace deal with the Palestinians if he does not believe a deal “is the right thing to do for Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s “vital interests” must be upheld in such an agreement.

“The tango in the Middle East needs at least three,” Netanyahu said Monday upon landing in the U.S. for a six-day visit. “For years there have been two—Israel and the U.S. Now it needs to be seen if the Palestinians are also present.”

“In any case, in order for us to have an agreement, we must uphold our vital interests,” he said. “I have proved that I do so, in the face of all pressures and all the turmoil, and I will continue to do so here as well.”

Bloomberg View columnist Jeffrey Goldberg reported that Obama planned to warn Netanyahu of a “bleak future” and a “demographic disaster” if Israel does not support U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians.

“There comes a point where you can’t manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices,” Obama told Goldberg in an interview published Sunday.

“Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank? Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab-Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?”

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