Israeli Government Praises Obama Speech
Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak are praising Barack Obama’s speech to the Muslim world: Israel: We hope Obama speech heralds new era in Mideast.
The Israeli government praised U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to the Muslim world Thursday, saying it shared his hopes for Middle East peace, but stressed that Israel’s security interests remained paramount.
“We share President Obama’s hope that the American effort heralds the opening of a new era that will bring an end to the conflict and to general Arab recognition of Israel as the nation of the Jewish people that lives in security and peace in the Middle East,” an official statement said after Obama’s address in Cairo.
The statement made no mention of settlements, which Obama said should not be expanded, nor Palestinian statehood. At odds with Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that construction would continue in existing settlements in the West Bank and he has not publicly endorsed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Netanyahu’s bureau also released a statement Thursday affirming Israel’s desire to pursue peace, but in accordance with its national interests. “Israel is committed to peace and will do all it can to expand the circle of peace while considering its national interests, first and foremost being security,” the statement said.
Later Thursday, Defense Minster Ehud Barak echoed the comments in welcoming Obama’s address and reiterated Israel’s desire to pursue peace talks.
“In the speech there is reinforcement and encouragement for moderate elements and supporters of peace; there is also outspoken criticism of terrorism and [its] origins of violence and extremism that are threatening the stability of our region and the entire world,” said Barak in a statement.