The United States is exploring other options in its efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace in light of the Israeli prime minister’s recent harmful campaign statements, President Barack Obama said.
The president said that he had called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to voice his displeasure at the latter’s opposition to a Palestinian state and insistence on expanding settlement building in East Jerusalem, Xinhua reported, citing The Huffington Post.
“I indicated to him that given his statements prior to the election, it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are possible,” Obama said, adding that he also reaffirmed US commitment to a two-state solution.
Netanyahu’s controversial statements were aimed at wooing far-right voters in a tight race. He won re-election on Tuesday but his words angered the Obama administration and further estranged his relationship with it, already strained over his criticism of nuclear talks with Iran in the US Congress early this month.
Continuing settlement building under Netanyahu’s watch had contributed to the collapse of two rounds of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, brokered by the Obama administration, first in September 2010, and then in April 2014.
“We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region,” Obama said.
The White House had warned that it could be “difficult” for Washington to keep opposing Palestinian statehood resolutions at the United Nations.
Obama vowed, however, to continue the military and intelligence cooperation with Israel despite disagreements on policy.