Transcript from the Huffington Post:
- Netanyahu to Fox News: I didn't retract support for two-state solution
- J Street’s Ben-Ami tells Netanyahu: You don’t speak for us
- Netanyahu election may increase American Jewish alienation from Israel, leaders here warn
- Netanyahu: I'm in favor of a two-state solution, but circumstances must change
- White House: Netanyahu did not sufficiently clarify his position on Palestinian state
- Obama believes Netanyahu not interested in Palestinian state
- Is this the last generation of liberal Jews who will love Israel?
- WATCH: Israelis and Gulf Arabs are 'stunned' by U.S. policy says PBS's Woodruff
- White House chief of staff: 50 years of Israeli occupation must end
(Scroll to watch the clip)
HUFFPOST: Switching to foreign affairs. Given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent comments on a two-state solution in the close of his campaign, can the U.S. continue to oppose Palestinian efforts to gain statehood at the United Nations?
OBAMA: Well, I had a chance to speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday, congratulated his party on his victory. I did indicate to him that we continue to believe that a two-state solution is the only way for the long-term security of Israel, if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic. And I indicated to him that given his statements prior to the election, it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are possible.
So we’re evaluating what’s taking place. I think Prime Minister Netanyahu still has to form a government; we’ll be in close consultation with them. We're going to make sure, regardless of disagreements we have on policy, that our military and intelligence cooperation to keep the Israeli people safe continues and that cooperation also helps the American people stay safe.
But we are going to continue to insist that, from our point of view, the status quo is unsustainable. And that while taking into complete account Israel's security, we can't just in perpetuity maintain the status quo, expand settlements. That's not a recipe for stability in the region.
HUFFPOST: Is there any reason at this point to believe that he's serious about a Palestinian state?
OBAMA: Well, we take him at his word when he said that it wouldn't happen during his prime ministership, and so that's why we've got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region.
HUFFPOST: And what was your reaction to his warning on Election Day about Arab voters heading to the polls "in droves"?
OBAMA: We indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel's traditions. That although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly. And I think that that is what's best about Israeli democracy. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don't believe in a Jewish state, but it also I think starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country.
HUFFPOST: I mean, can you unring that bell basically?
OBAMA: Well, I think that's probably a question better addressed to the prime minister.