President Obama finally ended the snub on Thursday, calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on winning Tuesday’s election. The call, and comments that came after, still raised the stakes in a diplomatic row that is growing dramatically in recent days.
Israeli officials referred to the 30-minute phone call as “difficult,” and said Obama gave the Israeli premier the impression that he could no longer count on the US to veto Palestinian statehood at the UN.
Netanyahu dramatically shifted his campaign in the last week before the vote, disavowing Palestinian statehood in a dramatic rightward shift. While this paid off on the campaign trail, Netanyahu has tried to backtrack since the vote ended, insisting he still supports the two-state solution in theory.
The White House is not buying it, however, and is continuing to publicly express “doubts” about Netanyahu and demand that he clarify what exactly his position is on Palestine.