Outgoing US President Barack Obama, who leaves office in ten days, gave an interview on the Israeli television program Uvda Tuesday night in which he elaborated on his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the recent anti-Israel resolution which he allowed the UN Security Council to pass by refusing to veto it.
President Obama said that his relationship with the Prime Minister was not as bad as it was made out to be in the media. "I think he (Netanyahu) was very consistent in his views. The differences between our administrations were often presented as being personal disputes, but this was not the case. Every time we met we had a cordial and honest conversation, and there is a wide range of issues on which we agree."
"There are some notable issues on which we have profound disagreements." he admitted.
Acording to President Obama, allowing the passage of an anti-Israel resolution at the Security Council last month was "the best option to achieve peace."
He noted that the US continues to support Israel through financial aid. "Every day we spend $8.5 million dollars to ensure the security of Israel, and that does not include the billions that are for air defense."
"The question for me is what we can do to ensure a chance for peace in the long term." he said. "The political conditions on both sides did not allow significant progress and increasingly the issue of settlements has become a barrier to the possibility of a two-state solution."
"Netanyahu said he believes the two-state solution, but his actions have shown consistently that if pressed to approve more settlements - he will do so," Obama explained. "Since 2009 there has been an increase of 37% in the number of settlers. It is not derived from the constraints of Israel's security or its need for strategic depth. More and more we see that the facts on the ground almost completely prevent, or at least make it extremely difficult - if this trend continues, it will be impossible create a contiguous and functioning Palestinian State. What you are now encouraging is this vision of a Greater Israel, in which the occupation will continue for an indefinite period."
"We did not agree with every part of the UN resolution. Therefore, we abstained and did not vote for it." he added. "We insisted that we would impose a veto on anything that does not make a commitment to balancing the importance of the Palestinians to reduce the violence and stop the incitement. But I really believe it is important to send a message and to bring the facts about what is happening with settlements in the West Bank ".