Obama Twice Refused to Block Palestinian State

While the hostilities between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama have long been an open secret, the depth of the breakdown in relations between the two was demonstrated on Wednesday, as it was revealed Obama twice refused to veto a UN resolution establishing a Palestinian state.

Politico revealed Thursday that Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reidtwice asked White House chief of staff Denis McDonough this year to have Obama publicly announced he would veto a UN Security Council call establishing “Palestine.”

But on both occasions, Obama flatly ignored the request.

Reid had made the requests in an attempt to get Democrats to support the controversial Iran nuclear deal, reasoning that if Obama openly sided with Israel, Democrats who were worrying about how their support for the Iran deal might look would feel reassured to back the deal.

While the US has long held its policy of shooting down any UN Security Council resolutions aiming to unilaterally establish a Palestinian state, Obama apparently took a more openly hostile stance after Netanyahu opposed the nuclear deal in a Congress speech this March.

Likewise after Netanyahu said during Knesset elections that he didn’t foresee aPalestinian state would arise during his term – a statement he quickly withdrew after elections – White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on March 19 that the US needs to “reevaluate” its stance on blocking UN resolutions.

After Earnest made the comment, Reid asked McDonough to have the president take back what Earnest said. A source revealed to Politico that McDonough promised the White House “would look into it,” but no action was taken.

Reid then asked Obama to make a statement of support for Israel against a possible UN resolution, arguing it might give Democrats enough support to back the Iran deal without being seen as opponents of Israel.

McDonough again put off Reid, with the White House not taking any action and saying Obama would not make a public declaration on the issue.