US President Barack Obama has warned Israel against “international fallout” if direct talks with the Palestinian Authority fail and Tel Aviv continues its illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Speaking to Bloomberg View prior to his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Obama said that Washington’s ability to protect its staunch ally from being isolated in the world would be “limited” if Tel Aviv continues expanding its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Obama also warned that international condemnation will mean reduced influence for Washington over issues that are of interest to Israel. Talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have stalled over Tel Aviv's illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. In his interview, which was published on Sunday, Obama said “the window is closing” for a so-called peace deal with the Palestinian Authority, calling on Netanyahu to “seize the moment.” Last month, US Secretary of State John Kerry also warned that Israel would face a possible international boycott if it failed to reach a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority. “For Israel, the stakes are also enormously high,” Kerry said. “For Israel there's an increasing de-legitimization campaign that has been building up. People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things.” Israeli officials reacted angrily to Kerry’s comments. They even went as far as accusing him of endorsing and “amplifying” what they called “anti-Semitic” efforts to impose sanctions on Israel by issuing the warning. The US State Department quickly responded to the criticism, saying Kerry was referring to the actions of others and he has “a proud record of over three decades of steadfast support for Israel’s security and well-being, including staunch opposition to boycotts.”