Barack Obama (Photo: Reuters)
US President Barack Obama
Barack Obama (Photo: Reuters)

US concerned by Netanyahu's 'divisive rhetoric' in election

White House says administration maintains support of two-state solution despite Likud leader's reversal of position on Palestinian independence in last days of campaign.

WASHINGTON – The White House said on Wednesday that the United States would seek the best approach to implementing a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following the re-election of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.



Senior officials in the US administration expressed concerns over the Israeli prime minister's statements during the final days of the campaign, when he reversed his support for a Palestinian state – the creation of which is fundamental to American policy in the Middle East.


Netanyahu and Obama at White House (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Netanyahu and Obama at White House (Photo: AFP)


The administration of President Barack Obama will not accept Netanyahu's policy reversal since his historic speech at Bar-Ilan University in 2009 and have handled his statements as driven by electioneering. Meanwhile, the Americans emphasized the special relationship Israel enjoys with the superpower.


White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said that President Obama continues to believe that the best solution for the conflict is an independent state for Palestinians. However, he added that the US will reevaluate its position given Netanyahu's recent statements.


Earnest said Obama would call Netanyahu "in the coming days" to congratulate him on his re-election victory. He said that US Secretary of State John Kerry had already called the prime minister to congratulate him.


But despite the diplomatic overtures, the Obama administration also criticized the Likud leader for using "divisive rhetoric" to undermine Arab Israeli voters.


Relations between the American and Israeli leaders reached a new low in March when Netanyahu accepted an invitation by Republican lawmakers – against Obama's wishes – to address a joint-session of Congress on the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program.


Yet sources in Washington hurried to stress that Obama will work with Netanyahu since he won a democratic elections and was the legitimate leader of Israel, a close ally of the US.


Former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, a senior member of Clinton and Obama's teams for negotiations on the peace process, told American news channel MSNBC that "there will be a confrontation not over the Palestinian issue but over Iran."


He said that Netanyahu would be invited to the White House to express his opposition the negotiations with Iran only after a deal with Tehran is agreed. The veteran diplomat predicted that despite their disagreement on Iran, future events will determine the course of the two leader's relationship.


Indyk, however, expressed more urgent concerns over the state of the Palestinian government.


He suggested that the election results would push President Mahmoud Abbas to continue his bid for a trial against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, leading Netanyahu to retaliate by withholding tax payments to the government in Ramallah.


"We may see the collapse of the Palestinian Authority," he warned.


פרסום ראשון: 03.18.15, 20:20
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