On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took victory in the election, for his fourth term, but in his final days of campaigning, he abandoned the U.S. wishes of working to develop a Palestinian state. With two decades of peace efforts from the U.S. and U.N., the U.S. is less than pleased with the prime minister’s re-election. Though President Obama and individuals in his administration congratulated Netanyahu for his win, White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, stated that Obama was still committed to creating a two-state solution for the conflict in the Middle East. He stated that the U.S. will have to evaluate what kind of approach they will take to the situation, in the future.
During his campaign, Netanyahu was supposedly working well with the White House. It was not until recently that the prime minister stated that he would not be creating a Palestinian state while he is in office, and promised that he would still be building Jewish settlements on occupied land. As Netanyahu was facing a possible loss near the end of the campaign, the U.S. considered his backtrack as a way to manipulate the right-wing base. However, what he really did was anger Palestinians and create a harsh relationship with the U.S. and U.N.
The Obama administration has said that they are “deeply concerned,” stating that Netanyahu’s moves undermined the “values and democratic ideals” that have been the basis of the relationship between Israel and the U.S. Though Obama and his administration have expressed wanting to find a way to repair the relationship, sources state that President Obama may not be willing to take the chance on the prime minister, after the moves he took to win the election.
President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a rocky relationship, even before the election put the latter in a fourth term. In the election the Likud party also beat the Zionist Union with 24 seats of the 120-member Knesset. But even with the right-wing power, Obama has stated that he plans to go straight to the Israeli government to communicate their concerns over the statements made by Israel’s prime minister, that he would not allow for a two-state resolution.
Netanyahu also defied Obama when he went against his potential nuclear deal with Iran, in a speech that he made to Congress. As Obama continues to work on the plan for such deal, Netanyahu’s statements made it clear that he was not in support of Obama’s plans. This also created a reason for the U.S. to not be pleased with Netanyahu’s win of another term.
Though Netanyahu is not behind plans for the U.S. in creating peace in the Middle East, Obama does still have options as he continues to work with the U.N. According to sources, Obama may agree to a passage of a United Nations Security Council Resolution which would create a two-state solution based on Israel’s 1967 borders with Palestine and mutually agreed on, territory swaps. Though this would not please Israel, the Obama administration feels that this may be the only choice. A White House official said that they were initially trying to support direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine, but said that they realize now that the Israeli government and Netanyahu are not willing to support direct negotiations.
Moving forward the U.S. has stated that Obama may be no longer willing to deal with Netanyahu, but instead may leave the Israel-U.S. relationship management up to Secretary of State, John Kerry. Kerry is the prime minister’s only remaining friend among the Obama administration, according to sources. Kerry called on Wednesday to congratulate the prime minister on his victory, though Obama did not. A spokesman said that Obama would eventually call.
While tensions are high between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the U.S. hopes to continue with plans to make peace in the Middle East. Though the prime minister’s statements before election show that he does not support Obama’s plans for peace, Obama and his administration hope to continue to work with Israel. The U.S. will definitely be continuing work with the U.N. to create the plans that may help countries in conflict, but the two-state solution may have to take a route that is less pleasing to Israel, after Netanyahu’s win of a fourth term.
By Crystal Boulware