Obama: Economically Successful Israel Makes Middle East Peace More Difficult

President Barack Obama conceded Wednesday that a two-state solution to bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority won’t happen under his administration — and claimed that the failure was, at least in part, due to Israel’s continued economic success.

The admission came during a town hall forum in Argentina, when Obama told the crowd that “because Israeli society has been so successful economically, it has, I think, from a position of strength, been less willing to make concessions” to the Palestinians.

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at the 'Usina del Arte' cultural centre in Buenos Aires on March 23, 2016. The United States and Argentina sealed a major trade deal on the eve -the first day of President Barack Obama's visit- bolstering the efforts of his counterpart to end a decade-and-a-half of international financial isolation.  (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at the Usina del Arte cultural center in Buenos Aires Wednesday. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

“On the other hand, the Palestinians, because of weakness, have not the political cohesion and organization to enter into negotiations and feel like they can get what they need — and so both sides just go to their separate corners,” Obama continued.

He said his administration has worked hard for a negotiated peace, particularly Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We have worked and worked and worked. Last year and the year before that, John Kerry, that poor man, he was flying back and forth and taking messages back and forth. I was making phone calls,” Obama said. “Ultimately, we can’t do it for them. The tragedy of the situation there is until the population of both people recognize the truth, which is they are going to be living together one way or another. The question is, are you going to be living together with check points and people being stabbed in hatred, or are you going to be living together in a way that creates hope and optimism for your children?”

He admitted it won’t be one of his accomplishments: “It’s been 60 years it’s not going to happen in the next nine months.”

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