Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received Wednesday the backing of Florida Senator Marco Rubio in his present feud with the White house over his refusal to pursue the two-state solution.
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During a Q&A session following a speech to the Council On Foreign Relations in New York, the Republican presidential candidate was asked by TV host Charlie Rose whether he would continue to support a 2-state solution if elected president.
“I don’t think the conditions exist for that today,” he responded. “The conditions for a two-state solution, at this moment, do not exist.” When pushed whether the U.S should stop pressing Israel to resume negotiations with the Palestinians based on the 2-state solution, Rubio stated, “That’s the ideal outcome, but as the conditions currently exits, [the answer is] no!”
He went on to list the reasons why the conditions don’t exist, citing the lack of unity among the Palestinian people, mismanagement of government, the ongoing incitement against Israel, and the rejection of two very generous Israeli offers for a final settlement. “The conditions simply don’t exist,” he asserted. “I think the most we can hope for in the short term is that the Palestinians Authority will be able to provide a level of stability in that territory. And ultimately, the conditions will rise up with new leadership that will allow something like that to happen.”
As reported earlier Wednesday, a document detailing the basic guidelines of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s new coalition government, presented Wednesday to the Knesset, has no mention of pursuing the two-state solution or moving toward the establishment of a Palestinian state in a possible peace settlement. “The government will advance the diplomatic process and will strive for a peace agreement with the Palestinians and with all of our neighbors,” the document reads. “If an agreement of this kind is reached, it will be brought for the approval of the cabinet and the Knesset, and if necessary, for a national referendum as well,” the document on the coalition guidelines says.
The wording of the political clause in the document is similar to the wording used in Netanyahu’s previous governments in 2009 and 2013, Ha’aretz noted. However, since Netanyahu had indicated in pre-election remarks that he has reversed on his position declared during a 2009 Bar Ilan speech, the omission of a concrete commitment to the two-state solution may raise many eyebrows in the U.S and in Europe.
Netanyahu backtracked on the comments just a two days after the election. “I don’t want a one-state solution,” he told NBC. “I want a sustainable and peaceful two-state solution, but circumstances have to change for that to happen.”
The White House, however, did not fully accept Netanyahu’s clarifications. “We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said during a speech to the J Street conference in Washington in March.
In an interview to AL-Arabiya, published Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama said he has not given up hope for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. “It’s no secret that we now have a very difficult path forward. As a result, the United States is taking a hard look at our approach to the conflict,” Obama said. “We look to the new Israeli government and the Palestinians to demonstrate – through policies and actions – a genuine commitment to a two-state solution.”
Rubio is rumored to be the favorite to win Sheldon Adleson’s support in 2016.
In his opening remarks at the Foreign Policy Council, Rubio laid out a doctrine that contains three pillars – American Strength, the protection of our global economy, and a proud advocacy for America’s core values.
Criticizing President Barack Obama’s foreign policy approach, Rubio pointed to Iran expanding its influence throughout the Middle East and threat to annihilate Israel as it moves closer to a nuclear weapons capability. “The president’s proposed deal with Tehran will likely lead to a cascade of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and could force Israel to take bold action to defend itself, making war with Iran even more likely,” the Florida Senator said. “President Obama’s desperation to sign a deal – any deal – has caused him to elevate politics over policy, legacy over leadership, and adversaries over allies.”
Rubio promised to restore American leadership and “reestablish a foreign policy based on strategy and principle rather than politics and polls – one that is overseen by the White House but not micromanaged by it, and that will restore America’s status as a nation that shapes global events rather than one that is shaped by them.”
Jacob Kornbluh is a political correspondent for www.jpupdates.com