If Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu does not recant his statements about there being “no Palestinian state” on his watch, the United States might have to rethink its relationship to Israel within the international community, top U.S. officials say.
“The positions taken by the prime minister in the last days of the campaign have raised very significant substantive questions that go far beyond just optics,” said a senior administration official, Politico reports.
“We are signaling that if the Israeli government’s position is no longer to pursue a Palestinian state, we’re going to have to broaden the spectrum of options we pursue going forward.”
Initially, the State Department dismissed Netanyahu’s comments as political statements designed to help him get elected, but now it appears the administration is taking him at his word.
Secretary of State John Kerry at a news conference on Saturday made it clear that “President Obama remains committed to a two-state solution.”
Netanyahu’s uncompromising stance toward Palestine makes it “a lot easier for the administration to justify going down a more international route” to settle the disagreement, according to Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the left-leaning pro-Israel group J Street.
While the United States is not likely to withdraw military support to Israel so long as there is a GOP-controlled Congress, it is now entirely possible that the U.S. will not be on their side when the debate comes to the international community — who is also not happy with Netanyahu.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday indicated that “the only way forward for Israel to remain a democratic state” is to give in and adopt a two-state solution.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor sharply responded, however, by saying that “the United Nations may disagree with the policies of the Israeli government, but there is one fact that can’t be disputed – that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.”
“If the UN is so concerned about the future of the Palestinian people, it should be asking why President [Mahmoud] Abbas is in the tenth year of a five-year presidential term or why Hamas uses the Palestinian people as human shields.”