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Obama and Israel: 5 Times President Has Been Criticized for Handling

Image: Obama and Israel: 5 Times President Has Been Criticized for Handling
In this April 5, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama walks with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the White House in Washington, DC. (Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 11:52 AM

President Barack Obama maintains that the United States has an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. But some of his foreign policy moves have drawn political criticism and contributed to a rocky relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the beginning of his presidency. Here are five times Obama has been criticized for his handling of relations with Israel.

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July 2009 meeting with Jewish leaders


President Obama set the stage for difficult relationship with Israel early in his presidency when he took a hard stance in meetings with Jewish leaders after a 2009 trip to Egypt. Obama urged the Israeli government to stop building settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, with hope that such a move would help bring Palestinians to peace negotiations.

“If you want Israel to take risks, then its leaders must know that the United States is right next to them,” Malcolm Hoenlein, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said, according to The Washington Post.

But Obama disagreed.

“Look at the past eight years. During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that? When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states,” Obama said.


May 2011 meeting with Netanyahu


Obama was criticized for suggesting that Israel consider borders before the 1967 Arab-Israel war as a basis for peace negotiations. Since that time, Israel has occupied the West Bank and built settlements.

Israel “cannot go back to the 1967 lines, because these lines are indefensible. They don’t take into account certain changes that have taken place on the ground, demographic changes that have taken place over the last 44 years," Netanyahu said, according to The Washington Post.

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November 2011 G-20 Summit


During the G-20 Summit in France, Obama was caught by a hot mic complaining about Netanyahu to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day.”


Iran nuclear weapons


While Netanyahu urged the United States to draw a hard line against Iran’s potential development of a nuclear weapon, Obama sought more time for nonmilitary options such as diplomacy and sanctions. Netanyahu and Obama also disagreed on the timeline they estimated it would take Iran to build a nuclear bomb.


Operation Protective Edge


During 50 days of fighting between Hamas and Israel this year, more than 2,100 Palestinians and more than 70 Israelis were killed. Relations between the United States and Israel worsened as the Obama administration decried the killing of Palestinian civilians and urged Israel toward a ceasefire. Obama’s stance drew criticism, with a U.S. Senate resolution giving unequivocal support to Israel and Netanyahu asking the U.S. ambassador to pass a message to Obama “not to ever second-guess me again,” The Guardian reported.

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President Barack Obama maintains that the United States has an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. But some of his foreign policy moves have drawn political criticism and contributed to a rocky relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
obama, israel, president, criticized
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2014-52-11
Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 11:52 AM
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