Earlier this month, in what were free, fair and democratic elections, the Likud party gained a plurality of the vote from the Israeli electorate. We congratulate Prime Minister Netanyahu on this victory and wish him well in his efforts to form a stable coalition ruling government for all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike.
The election period was difficult and divisive, which – while regrettable – is also reflective of the robust democracy that is Israel. As such, we also welcome the Prime Minister’s subsequent restatement of his commitment to a two-state solution, as well as his gestures of outreach and inclusion to all citizens of Israel.
We support peace between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and we believe, based on post-election statements by Mr. Netanyahu, that the next Israeli government will retain this as its policy. We look forward to actions by the incoming coalition that confirm this belief.
As a result, we are deeply concerned about the nature of continued public statements regarding the democratically elected Israeli government – even after appropriate clarifications, apologies and concessions have been made. The strength of the mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and Israel has never been more important, as the rest of the region faces unprecedented turmoil and threat. Moving forward, it is imperative that those in leadership avoid at all costs language that has the effect, though not intentional, of abetting those of ill will who seek to isolate and delegitimize Israel among the community of nations.
Therefore, we respectfully – but with a strong sense of urgency – call upon the Administration, its representatives and all of our elected officials to focus on the vast majority of shared interests between our two countries, rather than on those issues – as important as they may be – on which there are sincere differences.
As always, we stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and are encouraged by White House assurances that the U.S. commitment to Israel's military edge in the region, Israel's security, and U.S.-Israel intelligence and military cooperation continue unabated.
Specific policy differences should be addressed directly, but not in a manner that undermines our strong alliance. We call upon all parties – now and in the future – to de-escalate the rhetoric and re-emphasize the bedrock relationship that has existed between the United States and Israel for decades, a relationship based on common interests, common values and a common commitment to peace and security for Israel, for the region and for the world.