FOR THE WEEK OF MAR. 23, 2015
Israel votes to keep its prime minister, whose campaign tactics strain relations with U.S.
Catch up on post-election developments and summarize key points from an article.
Pick a quote from an Israeli or Palestinian (not an official) and tell how it makes you feel.
Now look for Israel-related news from our country. It is mostly hopeful or discouraging about better U.S.-Israeli relations?
In a Mideast election with an impact on U.S. foreign relations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a fourth term as head of Israel's government last week. Celebrations by his Likud Party supporters are counter-balanced by uneasiness among some Israelis over their economy and especially about relations with Palestinian citizens and neighbors. During a feisty, close campaign, Netanyahu offended many voters and alienated allies. On election day, for example, he urged supporters to vote because Arab citizens of Israel were "descending in droves on the polls."
"An increasingly shrill campaign raised questions about his ability to heal Israel's internal wounds or better its standing in the world," The New York Times says in an election night analysis. The Washington Post refers to "cynical, divisive election-day tactics." Notably, Netanyahu promised that a Palestinian state wouldn't be established as long as he remained in office. After victory, the prime minister promptly backtracked with a “head-spinning pivot,” as he Washington Post put it. "I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution," he said. "But for that, circumstances have to change. . . . To make it achievable, then you have to have real negotiations with people who are committed to peace." He doesn't say he's ready to resume and hasn't proposed new ideas for seeking peace with Palestinians wanting ancestral land.
In Washington, President Obama waited nearly two days before calling to congratulate the winner. America "needs to rethink our approach," the White House press secretary says. "And that's what we will do." For his part, the re-elected prime minister downplays U.S.-Israeli strains. "We'll work together," he says. "We have to."
White House says: "The president reaffirmed the United States' long-standing commitment to a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestine." – Statement about March 19 call to Netanyahu
Netanyahu says: "I haven't changed my policy. What has changed is the reality." – March 19 interview with MSNBC
Columnist says: "You cannot win that dirty and just walk away like nothing happened." – Thomas Friedman, The New York Times
Front Page Talking Points Archive