The US is mulling a drastic change to its approach to the two-state solution, and not in favor of Israel, a top US State Department official confirmed.
Speaking to a gathering of Reform Jewish leaders near Washington, DC on Monday, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman warned that the emerging coalition government in Israel would have serious implications for Washington’s support in the international arena.
“We will be watching very closely to see what happens after a new government is formed on this issue of working toward a two states living side by side in peace and security,” Sherman said.
“If the new Israeli government is seen as stepping back from its commitment to a two-state solution – something that all of you, and a vast majority of American Jews, support – that makes our jobs in the international arena a lot tougher because our ability to push back on efforts to internationalize,” she added.
“Israeli-Palestinian issues has depended on our insistence that the best course in achieving a two-state solution is through direct negotiations between the parties.”
Sherman’s veiled threats are the latest in new rhetoric coming from the White House following the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 17.
The Obama administration has publicly warned the prime minister that any backtracking on Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution would lead to the US withdraw its veto against a Palestinian push for statehood at the UN.
During the elections, Netanyahu made comments which insinuated that he would not support any efforts towards the creation of an independent Palestinian state. His comments caused an international uproar, with quick condemnation from the US and several European nations.
The prime minister specified that he would remain supportive of a “sustainable, peaceful two-state solution, but circumstances have to change for that to happen,” he told NBC.
US President Barack Obama, however, remains unconvinced.
In a press conference several days after the election, the president maintained that there “real policy differences” between himself and Netanyahu when it comes to establishing a Palestinian state.
The policy differences, Obama added, will have severe repercussions for Israel.