Democrat Buttigieg blasts Netanyahu: He’s ‘turning away from peace’

Pete Buttigieg slammed Netanyahu for “turning away from peace” and promised as president to withhold support from the Jewish state if the prime minister made good on his promise to annex parts of Judea and Samaria.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

“The Netanyahu government is turning away from peace,” Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said in an address focusing on  foreign policy at the University of Indiana in Bloomington on Tuesday. Buttigieg serves as major of South Bend, Indiana.

“If Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his promise to annex West Bank settlements, he should know that a President Buttigieg would take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill,” Buttigieg said.

During the recent election campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu floated the idea that he would extend Jewish sovereignty over certain parts of Judea and Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank.

“The current state of affairs cannot endure. The pressure of history and the mathematics of demography mean that well before 2054, Israelis and Palestinians will have come to see either peace or catastrophe,” Buttigieg said, referring to a oft-repeated argument by those who want to see Israel abandon the territories that not doing so would open the Jewish state to a tidal wave of Arab population growth that would undermine its Jewish and democratic character.

“A two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward and it will be our policy to support such a solution actively,” the Democratic hopeful said.

Buttigieg insisted he was pro-Israel despite his criticism. “Just as an American patriot may oppose the policies of an American president, a supporter of Israel may also oppose the policies of an Israeli right-wing government,” he said. “Especially when we see increasingly disturbing signs that the Netanyahu government is turning away from peace.”

Buttigieg joins at least two other presidential candidates who have voiced disapproval of Netanyahu’s annexation proposal. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) signed onto a non-binding resolution last Thursday with three other democratic senators denouncing Netanyahu’s campaign promise to annex parts of Judea and Samaria.

Buttigieg made his comments in the wake of recent remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman that “Israel has the right to retain some” of Judea and Samaria.