Politics

Obama Tells Netanyahu U.S. to ‘Reassess’ Policy on Israel, Mideast Diplomacy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during his meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since a rash of civilian casualties during Israel's summer war with Hamas heightened tensions between two leaders who have long had a prickly relationship. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during his meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama told Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Washington would “reassess” its options on U.S.-Israel relations and Middle East diplomacy after the Israeli prime minister took a position against Palestinian statehood during his re-election campaign, a White House official said.

Obama’s telephone call to Netanyahu followed a television interview in which the Israeli leader backed away from his pre-election declaration that there would be no Palestinian state on his watch, an about-face apparently aimed at quelling U.S. criticism triggered by his comments.

The White House, unmoved by Netanyahu’s effort to backtrack, delivered a fresh rebuke against him on Thursday and signaled that Washington may reconsider its decades-old policy of shielding close ally Israel from international pressure at the United Nations.

An official statement put out later in the day said Obama called Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election win and used the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to a two-state solution, a longtime cornerstone of U.S. policy on the Middle East conflict.

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