Tags: Barack Obama | Israel | obama | administration | defends | abstention | un

WH Defends Israeli Vote Move: Threatens Two-State Solution in Region

Image: WH Defends Israeli Vote Move: Threatens Two-State Solution in Region

(AP)

By    |   Friday, 23 Dec 2016 07:38 PM

The Obama administration Friday defended its abstention on a key United Nations resolution condemning Israel for West Bank settlements, with Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes saying that the continued activity threatened longstanding U.S. policy calling for a two-state solution in the region.

"For years, we have expressed grave concern about continued Israeli settlement construction," Rhodes told Jim Acosta on CNN. "The fact is, this settlement construction pushes far outside the security barrier that Israelis built for themselves.

"It's deep into the West Bank."

Rhodes denied attacks by conservatives and some Democrats that the move by U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power betrayed Israel — the U.S. recently concluded $38 billion in security assistance to the Jewish state — and said that both parties must work to achieve peace.

"This is an affirmation of existing U.S. policy," he told Acosta.

"We made clear the responsibility is on both sides: The Palestinians to stop terrorism, to stop violence; the Israeli government to not continue with settlements that will make peace impossible."

Rhodes declined to say whether President-elect Donald Trump's demand for a veto Thursday influenced Obama's decision.

"President Obama doesn't have to worry about politics," he said. "He's leaving.

"We're worried about the situation on the ground where we see settlement activity that is making a two-state solution impossible.

"After January 20th, he will be responsible for the conduct of American policy," Rhodes said of Trump. "Until January 20th, President Obama is.

"That's how it works. There's one president at a time."

Pressed further on Trump's call, he responded: "Well, look, it's unusual. There's been a lot of unusual during this transition.

"They had a difference on this issue," Rhodes later added. "They've taken different positions as it relates to a number of foreign-policy issues.

"Obviously, the president-elect wasn't the preferred candidate for President Obama. So, we can do what we can do and control our own behavior.

"It's up to the president-elect and his team as to how they're going to conduct themselves."

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The Obama administration Friday defended its abstention on a key United Nations resolution condemning Israel for West Bank settlements, with Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes saying that the continued activity threatened longstanding U.S. policy calling...
obama, administration, defends, abstention, un, resolution, israel
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2016-38-23
Friday, 23 Dec 2016 07:38 PM
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