In the wake of an election that saw Israelis return President Obama’s detested foe – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – to power, the White House today said it would “reevaluate” its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
Sounds menacing to me.
Earnest, who spoke aboard Air Force One as Obama headed to Cleveland, noted that in the last days of the campaign Netanyahu reversed his support for a two-state solution, saying he wouldn’t allow a Palestinian state.
From the press pool report:
Netanyahu “indicated a change in his position” in the recent election and based on those comments, “The United States will reevaluate our approach” to the situation.
“It has been the policy of the United States for more than 20 years that a two-state solution is the goal of resolving the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Earnest said.
Going forward, a the U.S. continue to believe a two-state solution is the “best way to diffuse tensions” in the region.
“Based on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments, the United States will reevaluate our position and the path forward in this situation.”
Earnest did not apparently hint what the “reevaluation” might entail. The Palestinians are seeking, with growing international support, recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state by international bodies. In December, the United States blocked a resolution that would have otherwise passed the UN Security Council setting a deadline for a Palestinian state.
Earnest also waded directly into internal Israeli affairs, slamming Netanyahu for his pre-election warning that his opponents were bringing Arab voters to the polls in force – all but suggesting it was racist and saying it “undermines” the U.S.-Israeli relationship.”
Arabs voted overwhelmingly against Netanyahu.
The rhetoric “sought to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens,” Earnest said.
“The United States and this administration is deeply concerned about rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens. It undermines the values and Democratic ideals that have been important to our democracy and an important part of what binds the United States and Israel together.”
“Rhetoric that seeks to marginalize one segment of their population is deeply concerning and it is divisive and I can tell you that these are views the administration intends to communicate directly to the Israelis.”
Gosh, I’m trying to figure out how many Jews have the vote in Arab countries.
Earnest said Obama would not call Netanyahu to congratulate him for a few days, asserting that after previous Israeli elections Obama had waited until Netanyahu was directed by the Israeli president to form a government. Secretary of State Kerry called instead.