White House to Netanyahu: Occupation must end

2015-03-26 11:51
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as he speaks during a press conference. (Gali Tibbon, AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as he speaks during a press conference. (Gali Tibbon, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The White House on Monday bluntly warned Israel that its occupation of Palestinian land must end, dismissing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to take back controversial campaign pledges.

In unusually tough language that underscores the fracture in relations between Washington and Israel, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said "an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end”.

McDonough criticised Netanyahu's pre-election pledge to block the creation of a Palestinian state - the supposed end goal of decades of fruitless peace talks - and he questioned Netanyahu's efforts to undo the damage.

"We cannot simply pretend that those comments were never made, or that they don't raise questions about the Prime Minister's commitment to achieving peace through direct negotiations," he said.

"The Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state," he added.

Two-state solution

McDonough is one of President Barack Obama's closest advisors, and his speech to the liberal pro-Israel lobby group J Street was followed closely in Washington.

Netanyahu's pledge deepened a long-running disagreement with Obama but his top aide said, the row was not based on "personal pique."

"America's commitment to a two-state solution is fundamental to US foreign policy," McDonough said. "It's been the goal of both Republican and Democratic presidents, and it remains our goal today."

On Monday, Netanyahu apologized for election day comments claiming Arabs were voting in "droves," comments which also brought US criticism.

He has also tried to downplay his pledge to oppose a two-state solution, insisting Israel's policy has not changed.

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  barack obama  |  israel  |  us  |  palestine

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.