President Barack Obama was the ‘most pro-Palestinian’ president ever, former British Prime Minister David Cameron claimed in a newly released memoir, adding that he considered himself a friend of Israel, but lamented his failure to pressure Israel into making greater concessions to the Palestinian Authority which could have led to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
On Tuesday, Cameron’s memoirs, entitled For the Record, was released; providing the former Conservative Prime Minister’s perspective on a wide range of issues during his six years in office, from austerity to Brexit to the battle against ISIS and his relationship with President Obama.
Cameron also delves into the Israeli-Arab conflict, describing himself as a “friend of Israel”, while chiding the Jewish state for “not always do[ing] the right thing,” and criticizing Israel over the construction of what he called “illegal settlements”.
“I was wholly for a two-state solution: creating a single Palestinian state, linking the West Bank and Gaza. Some in the West had resorted to a two-faced solution: telling each side what it wanted to hear and getting nowhere. I wanted to be tougher on both,” wrote Cameron.
“I was – I am – a friend of Israel. This tiny country was a haven for Jews after the most horrific event in modern history. It remains a beacon of democracy in a region of dictatorships. I credit the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) group, and its charismatic head Stuart Polak, for opening my eyes, and those of many Tory MPs, to the issues.”
“But Israel did not always do the right thing. I thought we needed to put pressure on it to stop building illegal settlements, and that work was required on when and how we would take a more aggressive position on recognizing the state of Palestine. No people should have to live as permanent refugees.”
The former British premier also touched on the Obama administration’s attempts to steer Israel and the Palestinian Authority towards some final status agreement, calling Obama the “most pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian president in history.”
“Obama was, I believed, the most pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian president in history. But, as ever, his careful analysis – ‘They both need to want peace more than we do,’ as he put it to me – meant a reluctance to take risks in order to achieve progress. Plus, he was understandably distracted by the Arab Spring, and anything he did propose to put pressure on Israel was rejected by Congress.”