WASHINGTON – The Obama administration on Wednesday congratulated Israel on its
elections the day before, and said the new government wouldn’t change US policy
in support of Israel and the peace process.
“Our relationship with Israel
and our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security will continue regardless,”
White House spokesman Jay Carney said in response to reporters’ questions about
“And our position on the peace process and our pursuit of peace
will not change no matter the result of the government formation
The US believes that “what needs to take place is direct
negotiations between the two parties that address the final-status issues and
that result in a two-state solution,” he said.
Carney would not speculate
on the likely composition of the new governing coalition and how that could
impact policy. But asked whether the frosty relationship between US President
Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – all but assured of
retaining his post – would now thaw, Carney rejected the premise of the
“That relationship is strong, and it is a relationship that
allows for a free and open discussion of ideas and positions, and that’s good
for US-Israeli relations,” he said.
Carney said it was very likely that a
phone call between Obama and Netanyahu would soon be arranged, though he did not
provide a time frame.
The State Department also lent its congratulations
on Israel’s “vigorous exercise of democracy.”
Like the White House,
officials declined to address the make-up of the next government but did express
enthusiasm for continuing to work together.
“We have a robust agenda with
the government of Israel, as you know, and so we’re looking forward to getting
down to business with the new government once it’s formed,” an official
The Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee also welcomed Israel’s election in statements put out Tuesday
Rep. Ed Royce (R-California), chairman of the committee, said
that “Israel has again demonstrated itself as a beacon of hope — a free-market
democracy in a region awash in violence and extremism.”
He added, “I look
forward to working with the new government in the coming months to strengthen
the US-Israel relationship.”