Obama Congratulates Netanyahu Nearly Week After Israeli PM Wins Election
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — President Barack Obama took nearly a week to congratulate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for narrowly winning the election.
Obama spoke to Netanyahu on the phone Monday from the White House about looking forward to working with the next Israeli government.
The president “reiterated his commitment to the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel, and pledged to work closely with Israel on our shared agenda for peace and security in the Middle East,” a White House statement read.
The phone call came after comments made by a former U.S. ambassador to Israel claiming that Obama and Netanyahu have “bad chemistry.”
According to The Jerusalem Post, Martin Indyk told Army Radio that Netanyahu should reach out to Obama to help repair relations between the two.
“President Obama is feeling quite frustrated because he rightly feels that he has done the right thing by Israel, but Israel is not responsive,” Indyk said, according to the Post. “[R]elations between the United States and Israel are more important than the differences between the two leaders.”
Tensions between the two came to a head about how to deal with Iran and Palestinian territory in Israel. Netanyahu has indicated that Israel would launch a military strike against Iran to deter the Islamic country’s nuclear ambitions and refused to stop the construction of Israeli settlements in disputed Palestinian territory. Obama has called on Israel to let the world deal with Iran through diplomatic means and to stop construction of Israeli settlements on the disputed lands.
Obama has yet to visit Israel during his time in office, but did visit Jerusalem while on the campaign trail in 2008.