After Netanyahu win, Obama takes off the gloves

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration woke up Wednesday morning to a sobering new reality on the ground in Jerusalem – instead of a weakened or rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Washington will now face the return of “King Bibi.” The White House has to come to terms with a Netanyahu who, defying the predictions, has been shored up by a strong mandate for his rightward-turning campaign.

In a set of coordinated messages, the White House and State Department launched their first barrage, mostly focusing on Netanyahu’s comments apparently repudiating his 2009 statements in support of a two-state solution.

Administration officials have already emphasized that the US will be reevaluating its approach based on Netanyahu’s comments; they have laid down a definitive framework going forward, instead alluding to two likely scenarios.

Carefully planted rumors have been circulating around Washington for weeks that the White House and Foggy Bottom are considering presenting a new peace plan, one that bypasses direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and attempts to impose a reality on the ground. The US – if it wants to play rough – certainly has the leverage to try and strong-arm Israel into an agreement, using critical defense allocations as carrot or stick.

The second option – this is the one the administration has been publicly hinting at in the aftermath of the elections – is a reduction of US support for Israel in the United Nations and its affiliated institutions.

Full article: After Netanyahu win, Obama takes off the gloves (The Times of Israel)

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