Report: Obama Refused to Disavow UN Resolution on Palestinian state
President Barack Obama reportedly refused to publicly commit to veto any UN resolution that would call for the creation of a Palestinian State after being approached about it by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, Politico reported Thursday.
According to the report, Reid approached White House chief of staff Denis McDonough on two different occasions during the debate over the Iran nuclear deal as he was trying to line up Democratic support to block any attempt to derail the international accord. Reid thought that if Obama would side with Israel against the possible U.N. resolution, it would give nervous and undecided Democrats cover to back the Iran deal.
The first time, Reid approached McDonough, according to Politico, was in March, a few weeks after Israeli Prime Minister addressed a joint session of Congress and 3 days after Netanyahu backtracked his stance of the to-state solution in a pre-election effort to shore up support for his party. “Now our ally in these talks has said that they are no longer committed to that solution. That means we need to reevaluate our position in this matter, WH press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on March 19. Reid approached McDonough shortly after Earnest’s comments and asked that the president reverse his position. McDonough said the White House “would look into it.”
The second time was during the 60-day review period over the Iran deal. Reid was hopeful that he could block the Iran disapproval resolution, but he wanted to be certain he would have the votes in the face of fierce opposition from pro-Israeli groups like AIPAC and others. But once again McDonough brushed him off, simply saying it was not the time.
On Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that he was no longer bound by any agreements with Israel, including the Oslo peace accords and other arrangements related to a two-state solution. Netanyahu is expected to respond in a speech to the UN General Assembly at noon.