In President Obama’s late congratulatory phone call to Prime Minister Netanyahu, he cautioned that the US must now reconsider its approach to relations with Israel and the peace process.
The Jerusalem Post reported that according to a White House official, President Obama told Netanyahu that the US “will need to reassess our options following the prime minister’s new positions and comments regarding the two-state solution.”
Media reports suggest that President Obama may support a Palestinian state in the UN, in retaliation for Netanyahu’s opposition to the establish of a Palestinian state at this time. Netanyahu later clarified, in an interview with NBC, that he still would support a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognized the Jewish state. However, current conditions make this impossible.
President Obama brought up the subject of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments about Israeli Arabs, suggesting that they contained racist overtones.
According to the White House, Obama “emphasized the importance the United States places on our close military, intelligence and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between both countries.
“The President and the Prime Minister agreed to continue consultations on a range of regional issues, including the difficult path forward to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the statement continued.
“The President reaffirmed the United States’ long-standing commitment to a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestine.”
“On Iran, the President reiterated that the United States is focused on reaching a comprehensive deal with Iran that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and verifiably assures the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.”
However, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest suggested on Thursday that moving forward with Netanyahu on the peace process will be difficult.
He condemned Netanyahu’s campaign statements regarding the two-state solution, describing them as “cynical, divisive election day tactics.”
“Words matter,” he said. “And that’s certainly true in this instance.” He added that the US “needs to rethink our approach” towards the two-state solution and relations with Israel.
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