The White House could "re-evaluate" its backing of Israel at the UN. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied abandoning his commitment to a Palestinian state, but said conditions had made that possibility remote.
In response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's re-election, Palestinians plan to resubmit a UN Security Council resolution to set a deadline for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank. In December, the Council rejected a resolution that would have called for Israel's withdrawal by 2017, but this time around Palestinians could hope for previously unattainable support from the US.
"Steps that the United States has taken at the United Nations had been predicated on this idea that the two-state solution is the best outcome," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Thursday. "Now our ally in these talks has said that they are no longer committed to that solution. That means we need to re-evaluate our position in this matter, and this is what we will do moving forward."
"I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution," Netanyahu told the US news channel MSNBC on Thursday, backing off his campaign promise. Netanyahu also called himself "proud to be the prime minister of all Israeli citizens - Arabs and Jews alike." On Tuesday, election day, he had triggered outrage by warning that Arabs had begun "turning out in droves" to vote.
The United States had announced on Wednesday that multinational negotiations on Iran's nuclear program would not be affected by the prime minister's re-election.
Netanyahu took a hard-line stance in the final days of campaigning, apparently seeking to draw voters away from smaller right-wing parties and rally them behind his nationalist Likud party. When asked the night before voters went to the polls if he could say that no Palestinian state would rise under his rule, Netanyahu had replied, "Indeed."
"Words matter and that is certainly true in this instance," the White House's Earnest said.
On Thursday, President Mahmoud Abbas convened the top body of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah to discuss strategy with Netanyahu assuming a third consecutive term in office. "What we heard recently is very worrying," Abbas told the PLO Executive Committee. The Palestinian president called the Israeli government "not serious" about a two-state solution.
mkg/ (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)