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Could White House Undercut Netanyahu Victory?

03-19-2015
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Could the Obama administration undercut Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his smashing reelection victory?

The country that used to be Israel's strongest ally is criticizing its newly elected leaders instead of wishing them well.

President Barack Obama has yet to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on the Likud Party's landslide victory in Tuesday's elections.

White House spokesman Josh Ernest told reporters the president will follow Secretary of State John Kerry's earlier call "in the coming days."

"The president, in the days ahead, in the coming days, I anticipate will also call Prime Minister Netanyahu to do the same thing," Earnest said.

Meanwhile, he said the United States will re-evaluate its strategy for creating a Palestinian state following Netanyahu's statement that he will no longer pursue a two-state solution.

The prime minister's acceptance of two states has always been based on the Palestinians' recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, secure borders for Israel, and keeping Jerusalem the united capital of Israel. All three conditions were rejected by Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The administration is also hinting it may support the Palestinian Authority's petition to the U.N. Security Council on the unilateral establishment of a state.

"Our position in support of a two-state solution is very clear. Only a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and independent Palestine can bring lasting peace and stability to both people," U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

"Of course, we will continue to pursue this goal with the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority," he added.

The notion of a Palestinian state next door to Israel troubles many Israelis after all of the terrorist attacks they've faced in recent years from Islamic fighters.

If the United States and the United Nations do support such a deal, that could mean still more tension between the Jewish state and much of the rest of the world.

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