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Netanyahu Allies Urge Obama To Respect Israeli Election Outcome

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Netanyahu Allies Urge Obama To Respect Israeli Election Outcome

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Israeli Prime Minister and Likud Party's leader Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media at the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem, on March 17, 2015. Results tallied Wednesday showed Netanyahu's party with a decisive win. (Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)

By Calev Ben-David, Bloomberg News (TNS)

JERUSALEM — Israeli officials called on the U.S. to accept the results of last week’s election amid signs President Barack Obama may shift policy in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory.

Disputes should be resolved through “diplomatic discussions” and not U.S. support for unilateral steps against Israel, Ofir Akunis, a deputy minister in the prime minister’s office, told Israel Radio on Monday.

U.S. officials criticized Netanyahu for saying there would be no Palestinian state if he returned to office after the March 17 vote. He later backtracked, saying while he remained open to a two-state solution, “circumstances have to change” with the Palestinians.

Obama and Netanyahu have clashed over several issues in the past six years, including West Bank settlements and talks with Iran over its nuclear program. Netanyahu’s recent comments, and the prospect of his heading a new government even more resistant to peace with the Palestinians, could bring relations between the allies to an even lower point.

After Netanyahu backpedaled on Palestinian statehood, Obama said the U.S. takes Netanyahu “at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership,” and it was necessary “to evaluate what other options are available” to maintain stability in the Middle East.

“I expect the American people and its leader, President Obama, to respect the decision of the Israeli people to place at its head Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and my party, the Likud,” Akunis said.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told Israel Radio on Sunday that if Netanyahu opposes a Palestinian state, “the question arises as to whether talks are possible and if not, what steps need to be taken.”

One measure being weighed is a joint U.S.-European initiative that would outline the contours of a two-state solution, Israel’s Channel 1 television said Saturday. The plan, which would not include any timetable, would base negotiations on lines Israel held before capturing the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in 1967, a formulation Netanyahu opposes.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Channel 1 he is concerned the U.S. has “adopted a policy of coercion” toward his country, “instead of a policy of negotiation and agreement.”

Netanyahu’s Likud emerged strengthened from last week’s election with 30 parliamentary seats, and is negotiating with smaller factions to form a majority coalition in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is now overseeing the official process of forming the next government, which could take weeks.

Netanyahu secured sufficient backing on Monday to form a ruling coalition after he was endorsed by Kulanu, the party headed by Moshe Kahlon, the leading candidate for finance minister, according to Rivlin spokesman Jason Pearlman. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, which opposes any Palestinian state and supports more Jewish settlement in the West Bank, informed Rivlin on Sunday that it backs Netanyahu, as did the two ultra-Orthodox Jewish factions, Shas and United Torah Judaism.

Moody’s Investor Service said Monday that Netanyahu’s “surprising and decisive” election victory “will likely result in a more quickly formed and stable government coalition and cohesive economic policy than the preceding short-lived incongruent administration.”

The ratings company said in an emailed statement it expects the new Israeli government’s “fiscal rules to contain spending growth and keep credit metrics for Israel (A1 stable) on their well-established improving trend, a credit positive.”

Photo: Israeli Prime Minister and Likud Party’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media at the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem, on March 17, 2015. Results tallied Wednesday showed Netanyahu’s party with a decisive win. (Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)

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15 Comments

  1. JacksonHts March 24, 2015

    This is rich, coming from Netanyahu, who apparently does not respect American election results or the sitting Presiden,t and unilaterally announced to the world and his country that after all the negotiating and buying time to allow more territory to be settled, there would simply be no agreement for a Palestinian state while he was PM. This shows his contempt for his ally and negotiating partner. I think it takes a certain amount of nerve in that situation, without even counting the unilateral attempt to sabotage the mulitlateral negotiations with Iran, to caution or accuse the Obama Administration. Another page from the GOP playbook.

    Reply
  2. Jerry Schull March 24, 2015

    All US foreign assistance should come with strings attached. Seems to me it’s time to withhold funding for the Israeli state. Bibi made a huge mistake when he told the world what he really felt about the two state solution. Of course anybody with half a brain could have surmised from his actions that he felt that way. The man is truly two-faced.

    Reply
  3. Grannysmovin March 24, 2015

    Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Channel 1 he is concerned the U.S. has “adopted a policy of coercion” toward his country, “instead of a policy of negotiation and agreement.” Look these two don’t like each other, Netanyahu supported Romney in 2012 and Obama hoped Netanyahu would loose. Netanyahu came here and spoke on the floor of the United States Congress undermining our President and his yahoo has the ordacity to speak of “adopting a policy of coercion”. They always cast themselves as the victim.

    Reply
    1. FireBaron March 24, 2015

      You would think that a country that has already had a number of its agents arrested and convicted for spying on the US would not take as an aggressive tone toward us, especially when their entire survival is based on telling other countries to not pick on them. Does Bebe really believe that there is any reason that Iran has not launched an attack against Israel outside of the knowledge that Iran, as a geographic entity, would cease to exist within 1/2 hour of their attack? And guess what – the retaliation would not come from the Nuclear weapons that Bebe refuses to acknowledge exists.

      Reply
      1. Joseph R. Davis March 25, 2015

        And from where, EXACTLY, is this expression of G-d’s wrath supposed to come?

        Reply
    2. 1standlastword March 24, 2015

      Diplomacy should be between Israel and her neighbors in the region. I think it’s time to let the Arabs, Persians and Israel go at it and we then we conduct diplomacy with the victors…Hell get on and get it over with!

      Reply
  4. m s 57 March 24, 2015

    Obama has shown nothing but the respect due to the election of a new Prime Minister of any sovereign nation — namely, by listening carefully and taking seriously the words of the new Prime Minister. Would that the same respect were shown to the US elections.
    But if the election of the new PM represents a repudiation of US national hope and endless diplomatic labor for 3 decades, the US, as any sovereign nation has the right to do, is going to re-examine those policies and that relationship.
    Actions have consequences, but somehow the Israelis seem to think they are immune to that immutable law. Words have meaning. Duplicity is duplicity.

    Reply
  5. highpckts March 24, 2015

    So there should be “diplomacy involved? You mean like Netanyahu coming here unvited by the head negotiator, the President, And speaking to our Congress? To me, that is an end run around diplomacy and nothing short of just plain bad manners! I don’t trust Netanyahu as he is already backtracking on some of his election remarks and is meeting with, traitor, Boehner who has no business negotiating anything with a foreign country!

    Reply
  6. 1standlastword March 24, 2015

    A common fricative phrase comes to mind here

    Reply
  7. Jerry Schull March 25, 2015

    Yes, respect the results of the election. But stop funding their nation.

    Reply
  8. Joseph R. Davis March 25, 2015

    To hell with Israel’s election. To hell with Bibi. He came here, and disrespected the President, lied to Congress, then went home and showed his true colors; the colors of a rattlesnake. No more American lives or Uncle Sam’s money for the Zionist entity. Nation? Nation, hell. Invaders, shored up by US taxpayers’ money, pure and simple. Land thieves and murderers. War criminals and vultures. Let ’em fight it out with all the enemies they’ve made since the 1940s. If they win, they win. If they lose, KAK ZHAL!

    Reply
  9. Robert Eckert March 25, 2015

    How about they respect the results of the US Presidential election, first?

    Reply
  10. Eleanore Whitaker March 26, 2015

    What chutzpah! Bend over and kiss Netanyahu butt when he has the gall to disrespect American voters? Perhaps, his “allies” (or are Zuckerberg and Adelson the ONLY allies?) need to be reminded that American taxpayers do not HAVE to hand Israel a dime.

    Reply
  11. m s 57 March 26, 2015

    The allies of Netanyahu don’t mean they want Obama to respect the Israeli elections. What they do mean is don’t pay attention to what Netanyahu said during the elections. Respect the elections by ignoring what Netanyahu said. But nothing is beneath this guy — spying on the Americans, which isn’t out of the ordinary, but taking that information to members of Congress to convince them to oppose Obama is deplorable and totally unacceptable. And the Republican 47, not to mention however many House members, believed him. Who knows if what he told them is even the truth? It will be interesting if Boehner still goes to Israel.

    Reply
  12. Malcolm Powers March 26, 2015

    Where’s Joe Biden in all this? Wasn’t he supposed to be some sort of Middle East expert?

    Reply

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