Obama makes ‘1st move’ toward ‘sanctions’ on Israel

By Aaron Klein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama

TEL AVIV – While the White House has dismissed as “unfounded” reports the Obama administration is contemplating sanctions on Israel, the Palestinian Authority told WND it is already receiving signals the U.S. president may not support Israel at the United Nations and in the international community.

A senior PA negotiator, speaking on condition his name be withheld, said that despite the Obama administration’s public protestations, the U.S. made no private protests recently over a Palestinian plan to seek recognition of a state at the United Nations and in international bodies.

The Palestinian claim contrasts with media reports last month that Secretary of State John Kerry called PA President Mahmoud Abbas to warn him the U.S. would sanction the Palestinians if they continue their attempt to seek unilateral recognition in international organizations.

“There have been no talks of any real U.S. sanctions on the Palestinian Authority for unilateral recognition,” said the PA negotiator.

The negotiator stopped short of claiming the Obama administration would actually endorse the unilateral recognition at the U.N.

The PA continues full speed ahead at seeking recognition of a Palestinian state in the international community.

On Tuesday, the French parliament was set to vote on a highly symbolic motion urging the government to recognize a Palestinian state. In October, Sweden’s government became the first major Western European state to recognize “Palestine.”

Other unilateral recognition measures are scheduled in Belgium, Portugal, Denmark and the European Parliament.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed reports the Obama administration held meetings discussing possible sanctions on Israel over so-called settlement expansions in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

“Reports that [we] might be contemplating sanctions against Israel are completely unfounded and without merit,” Earnest said Monday.

Earnest acknowledged the Obama administration held talks with Israel over disagreements about “settlement” construction.

“We’ve made our views known very clearly about our frustration with Israel,” he said. “It’s clearly in the interest of the Israeli people and the Palestinian people to try to resolve differences. … The settlement activity is counterproductive.”

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress sent a letter to the White House demanding an explanation of the reports of sanctions against Israel.

“Recent reports suggest that your administration has held classified meetings over the past several weeks to discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions against Israel for its decision to construct homes in East Jerusalem,” said the letter sent Friday and signed by 48 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Israel is one of our strongest allies, and the mere notion that the administration would unilaterally impose sanctions against Israel is not only unwise, but is extremely worrisome,” the letter continued.

Last week, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported the Obama administration was “examining taking action against the construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” including withholding support at the U.N. or financial sanctions on the so-called settlements.

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