White House congratulates Israel on elections

State Department also lend its congratulations on Israel’s “vigorous exercise of democracy.”

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
January 24, 2013 01:06
1 minute read.
Binyamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador Dan Shapiro

Netanyahu and Shapiro 370. (photo credit: Courtesy PMO)

 
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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 the vote.

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“And our position on the peace process and our pursuit of peace will not change no matter the result of the government formation process.”

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 question.

“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 said.

The Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee also welcomed Israel’s election in statements put out Tuesday afternoon.

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.”

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