Tags: Barack Obama | Israel | ron dermer | obama | stance | unchanged

Amb. Dermer: Obama's Stance on Israel Unchanged in 8 Years

MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

By    |   Thursday, 29 Dec 2016 09:27 AM

Secretary of State John Kerry's speech on Israel could have been given in the first year of President Barack Obama's first term in office, Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said Thursday while accusing Obama of not changing his opinions on Israel since he first took office in 2008.

"We had a crisis with the United States over the initial settlements three months into the administration," Dermer told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program about Kerry's contention that expansion of Israeli settlements jeopardizes the two-state solution that would keep Israelis and Palestinians living in the region.

"The very first meeting they had in the Oval Office, the same story was told, that the two-state decision was disappearing," said Dermer. "What we found is a speech eight years later that was just pretty much was a self-fulfilling prophesy. What the president believed going in is exactly what he believed going out. It wasn't true then and it's not true now."

There is chaos throughout the entire Middle East, with Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, Dermer continued but the "one place, you know, where you don't have chaos is Israel and the Palestinian areas. But guess what? You don't have peace but that's the most stable place."

Further, Dermer does not believe that the expansion of settlements will make it less likely for the Palestinians to discuss a diplomatic solution with Israel, and took offense to one of the show's panel referring to the "extremists' agenda of Hamas."

"That's a nice euphemism," said Dermer. "Hamas is a terror organization that's murdered over a thousand Israelis, who launched thousands of rockets against us, who have a charter to murder Jews. That's not an extremist view."

The Palestinians, Dermer continued, feel they can "avoid negotiations with Israel, blame Israel, internationalize the conflict and simply wait for the international community to deliver Israel on a silver platter."

But instead, Israelis are "continuing to live their lives, build in the areas that are in dispute," and that may one day convince the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel," the ambassador said. "If they don't do that, Israel's going continue on. They're not going to freeze life."

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the Obama administration for orchestrating a United Nations Security Council resolution against Israel's West Bank settlements. Dermer insisted the Israeli government has the proof to back up that contention, and insisted, as he did earlier this week, that the evidence will be presented to President-elect Donald Trump after he is sworn in next month.

"We can't share it with this administration because they're behind it to begin with and there will be the relevant members of Congress who would have access to that information as well," said Dermer. "If your government decides to share it with the American people, they will do it. But the prime minister doesn't make such a charge on international television without it being based 100 percent on evidence. You'll have to be a little patient. Invite me back to your show."

The information, he continued, is "sensitive" and while it could have political implications in some places, "it could actually be life and death in other places, so we have to be very careful."

He also denied to Bloomberg Politics co-managing editor John Heilemann that he has accused the United States of "stabbing Israel in the back."

"I did not say that; I said they orchestrated this resolution," said Dermer. "We would be in the same place, John, had they actually just said this is a resolution we support openly. I would be making the same case."

However, the accusation is not the main issue, he continued.

"The main story is a resolution that says the Western Wall is occupied in Palestinian territory," said Dermer. "Taking Israel to the international criminal court, that shifts the terms of reference in the negotiations and tells Israel you can't negotiate because the land is not already yours."

It is also "imperative" that a U.S. president stand beside Israel as an ally," the ambassador said, as the country is "fighting the same enemies as you're fighting, that shares the same values and interests. We have a common goal of achieving peace."

While Dermer's words about Obama and Kerry were strong, though, he said Thursday he doesn't blame anybody for the failure to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians on anyone but the Palestinians.

"[They] refuse to accept the existence and the right of the Jewish people to a state in our ancestral homeland," said Dermer. "The president of the United States cannot force them to do that. What he can do is stand beside Israel, speak truth to the world about what this conflict is all about, and hopefully the Palestinians will realize they have no chance to defeat Israel militarily or to defeat it diplomatically."

Netanyahu thanked Trump this week through a tweet for his support, but they have not spoken personally for the past few days, even though the Israeli government is in contact with Trump's camp.

"I actually think it's outrageous for an outgoing administration in the waning days of its presidency to radically shift U.S. policy without the knowledge or the support of the incoming administration," said Dermer, but he "absolutely" believes the policy will shift back after Trump is sworn in."

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Secretary of State John Kerry's speech on Israel could have been given in the first year of President Barack Obama's first term in office, Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said Thursday while accusing Obama of not changing his opinions on Israel since...
ron dermer, obama, stance, unchanged
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2016-27-29
Thursday, 29 Dec 2016 09:27 AM
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