Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said yesterday in an interview that the new government is willing to return to the negotiation table with the Palestinians.
“We would be delighted to renew the negotiations,” Hanegbi said in an interview with the Israel Project. “We believe it is in the interest of both people- the Israeli and the Palestinian- to have a dialogue; to discuss our disputes; to try and find [a] common denominator in the issues that are so crucial to both people.”
Hanegbi, a Netanyahu loyalist, also said that the new government will begin an intense effort to renew the trust between the United States and Israel.
“We will make an effort, a very, very intimate and intense effort to renew the trust between the governments,” said the deputy foreign minister. “It is essential for the security of Israel. It is essential for the survival of the state of Israel.”
Hanegbi’s words are significant in light of Netanyahu’s vocal opposition this week to the establishment of a Palestinian state. The hostility of the Obama Administration towards Netanyahu was also widely reported in the weeks leading up the Israeli election.
Whether the Administration will be receptive to overtures by the Netanyahu camp is uncertain. Though President Obama struck a conciliatory tone towards the winner of the Israeli election last night, the White House appeared reluctant to mention Netanyahu’s name this morning.
Later in the day, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that “the president in the coming days will also call Prime Minister Netanyahu.”
At an afternoon press briefing, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “Based on the prime minister’s comments, the US is in a position going forward in which we will be evaluating our approach with regards to how best to achieve a two-state solution.”
According to the Times of Israel, Psaki did not promise that the US would continue to defend Israel against unilateral actions in support of Palestinian statehood in either the International Criminal Court or the United Nations.
“We are not going to get ahead of any decisions with regard to what the US would do during any vote at the United Nations Security Council,” Psaki said.