Netanyahu responds to Obama: Israelis will determine country’s best interests

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to comments attributed to President Obama, saying that Israelis will determine the country’s best interests.

“Only the Israeli people will determine who best represents the State of Israel’s vital interests,” Netanyahu reportedly said Wednesday during a visit to the Gaza Division of the Israel Defense Forces.

“Over the past four years Israel has withstood tremendous diplomatic pressures. They insisted that we curb our demand for action on Iran; that we withdraw back to the 1967 lines; that we divide Jerusalem – that we stop building in Jerusalem. We fought against those pressures. I will continue to safeguard Israel’s vital interests, for its security,” the prime minister, whose party stands poised to take the most Knesset seats in next week’s election, said.

The comments came a day after a column by Jeffrey Goldberg for Bloomberg stated that when Obama was told that the Israeli government had approved plans to advance the development of housing in the controversial E-1 corridor between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem, “Obama said privately and repeatedly, ‘Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.’ With each new settlement announcement, in Obama’s view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation.”

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