The New York Times reports: President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel had a poisonous relationship long before Mr. Netanyahu swept to victory on Tuesday night in elections watched minute-by-minute at the White House.
But now that Mr. Netanyahu has won after aggressively campaigning against a Palestinian state and Mr. Obama’s potential nuclear deal with Iran, the question is whether the president and prime minister can ever repair their relationship — and whether Mr. Obama will even try.
On Wednesday, part of the answer seemed to be that the president would not make the effort.
In strikingly strong criticism, the White House called Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign rhetoric, in which he railed against Israeli Arabs because they went out to vote, an attempt to “marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens” and inconsistent with the values that bind Israel and the United States. The White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters traveling with Mr. Obama on Air Force One on Wednesday that Mr. Netanyahu’s statement was “deeply concerning and it is divisive and I can tell you that these are views the administration intends to communicate directly to the Israelis.”
And with Mr. Netanyahu’s last-minute turnaround against a Palestinian state alongside Israel, several administration officials said that the Obama administration may now agree to passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution embodying principles of a two-state solution that would be based on the pre-1967 lines between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip and mutually agreed swaps. [Continue reading…]