'Settlements are the root of the conflict? Nonsense'

Member of Netanyahu's entourage says the meeting with Obama was positive and they agree on most issues.

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Eliran Aharon, New York,

Netanyahu and Obama meet in New York
Netanyahu and Obama meet in New York
Kobi Gideon/GPO

A senior member of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's entourage stressed on Wednesday that the Prime Minister's meeting with President Barack Obama in New York was positive, adding that the two leaders agree on most issues, with the exception of the issue of Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria.

“Even President Obama said that the meeting was positive. It's no secret that there are differences in opinion - but there is consensus on most issues, except for the issue of the settlements,” the official said.

“Everyone in the region and the world understand Israel's strength,” the official continued. “It is a country with intelligence capabilities like no other. It is clear that President Obama has a certain view and the Prime Minister also has a clear view. But it is also clear that the issue of the settlements is not the root of the conflict. That is nonsense.”

The source added that “to come and say that that is the root of this conflict is simply nonsense. We are ready to meet the Palestinian Authority but it must give up the right of return and recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

The official, asked by Arutz Sheva whether efforts are being made to bring a solution to the planned eviction of Amona, replied, “The government is doing everything it can to help and provide timely solutions for Amona at the right time. Right now is not the time.”

The senior official was also asked about the Prime Minister's speech at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, and said that Netanyahu intends to surprise the audience, as he has done in previous years.

Earlier on Wednesday, in comments to the press before the meeting, Obama made sure to mention the topic of "settlements," and to express his hope that Israel and the Palestinian Authority will move in the direction of a two-state solution even after the end of his tenure as President in three months.

"We do have concerns around settlement activity as well, and our hope is that we can continue to be an effective partner with Israel,” he said.

In Obama's speech before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, the President said that the Palestinians should certainly end incitement to terror and recognize Israel, but also said that "Israel must understand it can't permanently continue to build on Palestinian land."