(JNS.org) The head of the left-wing J Street lobby said the White House may reconsider its pro-Israel stance at the United Nations following the election win by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.
J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami said he believes the Obama administration “is going to look very closely at the possibility of either joining, or at least not blocking, an internationally backed move at the U.N. to restate the parameters for ending the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict.”
An anonymous Obama administration official said this week it is “premature” to discuss any specific U.S. policy response to Likud's victory. But the official did say that “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,” Politico reported. Before the election, Netanyahu had said his government would never support the establishment of a Palestinian state. The prime minister also expressed concern about high Arab voter turnout on election day.
To date, the American government has opposed all U.N. resolutions condemning Israel, but “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,” the U.S. official told Politico.
In separate comments that came in response to Netanyahu's remark about Arab voters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters, “The United States and this administration is deeply concerned about rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens. It undermines the values and democratic ideals that have been important to our democracy and an important part of what binds the United States and Israel together.”
Meanwhile, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters on Wednesday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon believes a halt to Israeli Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, along with the establishment of a Palestinian state through negotiations, is "the best and only way forward for Israel to remain a democratic state.”
Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor responded, “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 U.N. is so concerned about the future of the Palestinian people, it should be asking why [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas is in the 10th year of a five-year presidential term,” said Prosor, Reuters reported.