Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, upon his arrival in Washington on Monday, dismissed the warnings made by US President Barack Obama regarding the potential fallout if the current negotiations failed to reach an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians based on the two-state solution.
After stepping off his jet, Netanyahu told reporters that: “The tango in the Middle East needs at least three. For years there have been two—Israel and the US. Now it needs to be seen if the Palestinians are also present.”
Netanyahu added that: “In any case, in order for us to have an agreement, we must uphold our vital interests. I have proven that I do so, in the face of all pressures and all the turmoil, and I will continue to do so here as well.”
The Palestinians and Israel resumed peace negotiations in July of last year under US auspices after a three-year lapse. So far, little diplomatic progress has been made while Israel’s illegal settlement construction has continued. This round of talks is scheduled to end in April.
Obama said in an interview with Bloomberg news on Thursday that a failure to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement will increase Israel’s isolation and limit the US’s ability to protect Israel against increasing international pressure. Obama also criticised Israel’s continued expansion of the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank, pointing out that this is harmful to the peace efforts.