What Barack Obama said to Benjamin Netanyahu after his election win

Matthew Champion@matthewchampion
Thursday 19 March 2015 11:00
news

Nothing, that's what.

In this week's election in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud emerged as the largest party, giving him the first chance to form a coalition government.

In the days before the surprise win, Netanyahu was accused of scaremongering after writing in a Facebook post: "The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organisations are bussing them out."

Barack Obama's spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House was "deeply concerned" about such "rhetoric that seeks to marginalise Arab-Israeli citizens", who make up 20 per cent of Israel's population.

Prior to Likud's win, Netanyahu also ruled out a Palestinian state being created while he was prime minister.

In a further rebuke, Earnest said: "It has been the policy of the United States for more than 20 years that a two-state solution is the goal of resolving the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians."

Tensions between the White House and the Israeli government reached their highest point in years when Netanyahu was invited by Republican leaders to address Congress, an opportunity he used to denounce ongoing talks with Iran over its nuclear programme.

US secretary of state John Kerry is the highest ranking member of the Obama administration to congratulate Netanyahu so far, but the White House said the US president could still call the Israeli prime minister in the coming days when he's formally invited to form a coalition government by the country's president.

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