Biden: 'Overwhelming frustration' with Netanyahu

Story highlights

  • The Obama administration has long had a rancorous relationship with the Israeli Prime Minister
  • Biden also criticized the Palestinians for trying to force a solution to the conflict

Washington (CNN)Vice President Joe Biden criticized Israel's government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday, warning that the current direction Israel is headed in leaves little room for Middle East peace efforts and is causing "overwhelming frustration."

"We have an overwhelming obligation -- not withstanding our sometimes overwhelming frustration with the Israeli government -- we have an obligation to push them as hard as we can toward what they know in their gut is the only solution -- a two-state solution," Biden said in remarks Monday night to J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobby.
Biden's comments on Netanyahu were particularly harsh. The Obama administration has long had a rancorous relationship with the Israeli Prime Minister.
"The present course Israel's on is not one that's likely to secure its existence as a Jewish, democratic state, and we have to make sure that happens," Biden added.
Biden also criticized the Palestinians for trying to force a solution, saying when he visited the Middle East last month and met with both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas he came away not feeling hopeful about a resolution.
"No matter what legitimate disagreements the Palestinian people have with Israel, there is never justification for terrorism," Biden also said.
The vice president closed his remarks by emphasizing that the United States is a close ally of Israel and is committed to Israel's security, adding that the U.S. is Israel's "only absolutely certain friend. That won't change."
"We've got to make sure that our friends in Israel know that we are friends," he said. "But we also have to make sure they understand that we understand ... where the ultimate solution lies."