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March 24, 2015 10:00 am

White House Chief of Staff: Israel’s ‘Occupation’ of Disputed Territories ‘Must End’

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Denis McDonough called for the end of Israel's "occupation" of disputed territories. Photo: Pete Souza. – Continuing the wave of Obama administration criticism of Israel following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on Monday called for the end of Israel’s “occupation” of the disputed territories.

“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 said at the J Street lobby’s annual conference in Washington, DC.

Despite the fact that Netanyahu has reaffirmed his support for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state, McDonough focused on pre-election comments in which the prime minister had apparently disavowed a two-state solution. Netanyahu later clarified that it was the reality on the ground that had changed, not his position on the issue.

“After the election, the prime minister said that he had not changed his position, but for many in Israel and in the international community, such contradictory comments call into question his commitment to a two-state solution. … We cannot simply pretend that those [pre-election] comments were never made,” McDonough said.

The chief of staff’s remarks follow post-election criticism by White House and State Department spokespeople, and then by Obama himself, of Netanyahu’s pre-election comments on a Palestinian state and Israeli Arab voters. Obama told The Huffington Post that his administration would “evaluate” its “options” in the Middle East after Netanyahu’s comments on a two-state solution.

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  • defiantjewess

    Since when did Netnayahu agree to put the Jewish state of Israel in mortal danger by accepting a terrorist state upon its borders. And since when did Obama make it foreign policy to force a democratic state to endanger itself by placing a terrorist state in its midst?

    • Jonah

      I don’t beleive Netanyahu has agreed to that, he is doing as best he can the Harlem shuffle until Obama is out of office. Remember when David was behind enemy lines in Ziklag he had to act crazy until he could turn the tables on them. My advise to Netanyahu and all the citizens of Israel…Do Not Grovel…read Exodus 14:12-13…God has your back.

  • ezequiel doiny

    Obama declared that “50 years of Israeli occupation must end”
    the best response is to remember that most muslims living in Israel when the state of Israel was created were immigrants recently arrived from other parts of the Ottoman empire.
    please read my article published in Gatestone Institute and share.
    thank you

    The Muslim Colonists: Forgotten Facts about the Arab-Israeli Conflict

    “By the early 1800s the Arab population in Palestine was very little (just 246,000) it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s that most Muslim Colonists settled in Palestine because of incentives by the Ottoman Government to resettle displaced Muslim populations because of events such as the Austro-Hungarian Occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Crimean War and World War 1. Those events created a great quantity of Muslim Refugees that were resettled somewhere else in the Ottoman Empire… In 1878 an Ottoman law granted lands in Palestine to Muslim colonists. Muslim colonists from Crimea and the Balkans settled in Anatolia, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.”

    Justin McCarthy, a professor of history at the University of Louisville, writing in his Annotated Map, “Forced Migration and Mortality in the Ottoman Empire,” also notes that there were about five million Muslims displaced due to the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Crimean War, Balkan wars, the Turkish war of independence and World War I.

    … As the demographic data below shows, most Muslims living in Palestine in 1948 when the State of Israel was created had been living there for fewer than 60 years:

    1890: Arab Population 432,000

    1947: Arab Population 1,181,000

    Growth in Arab population from 1890 to 1947: 800,000

    • The population figures for Jerusalem, the proposed Arab capital, are also significant. In 1905 Jerusalem had 40,000 Jews, 13,000 Christians and 7,000 Muslims. By 1946 Jerusalem had 100,000 Jews, 32,000 Christians and 34,000 Muslims. Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority for generations. It’s claim to be an Islamic holt site because of the controversial suggestion that the ‘farthest mosque’ from which Mohamet ascended was on the Temple Mount. The Koran does not mention Jerusalem or the Temple Mount AND the verses from the Koran that decorate the Dome of the Rock make no mention of Mohamet ascending from this site. See Professor Bernard Lewis, ‘The Middle East'[History of Civilisation series]