The reaction from world leaders to Netanyahu’s decisive election victory has been mixed – from congratulatory to dismissive.
World leaders responded in a diverse fashion to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive victory in the Israeli elections on Tuesday.
US President Barack Obama has conspicuously remained silent so far. Secretary of State John Kerry likewise refused to comment on the issue when asked to do so by reporters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Reuters reports.
However, State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday night that the US was looking forward to working with the next Israeli government. At the time of her statement, the extent of Netanyahu’s victory was not known.
“We congratulate the citizens of Israel on today’s election. The reported large turnout is another reminder of the vibrancy of Israel’s democracy and why the United States will remain firm in our commitment to our deep and abiding partnership with Israel… We look forward to working with the next Israeli government, including on our shared agreement for peace and security in the Middle East,” Psaki stated.
She also reaffirmed the Obama administration’s commitment to a two-state solution: “Only a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and independent Palestine can bring lasting peace and stability to both people. Of course, we will continue to pursue this goal with the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.”
Netanyahu stated during his campaign that no Palestinian state would be established if he was reelected.
The New York Times reported that “the consensus among Republicans and Democrats was that the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Israel remained intact.”
Writing on Twitter, potential 2016 presidential race front-runner Jeb Bush said, “Congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu on his re-election. He’s a true leader who will continue to keep Israel strong and secure.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron warmly congratulated Netanyahu, tweeting: ”Congratulations to @netanyahu on election result. As one of #Israel’s firmest friends, UK looks forward to working with new government.”
The European Union (EU) likewise congratulated Netanyahu on his victory.
“The EU is committed to working with the incoming Israeli government on a mutually beneficial relationship as well as on the re-launch of the peace process,” EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini stated.
“We are at a crucial moment, with many threats all over the Middle East,” the EU statement read. “The EU staunchly supports a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the interest of the Israeli people, of the Palestinian people and of the whole region.
“It’s time to turn this page and I’m confident that we can work together with the international community for a solution that will guarantee peace and security in the Middle East.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter in Hebrew (translated here), “Congratulations my friend Bibi. I recall our wonderful meeting in New York last September.”
Negative Responses in the Middle East
As widely expected, Iran condemned the elections results but rejected all Israeli political parties, not only Netanyhau’s Likud.
“For us there is no difference between the Zionist regime’s political parties. They are all aggressors in nature,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Marizeh Afkham told reporters at a weekly news conference in Tehran, according to the Iranian Mehr news agency.
Hamas released a similar statement, saying that all Israeli political parties were bad for the Palestinians as there was a “consensus among them to deny the rights of the Palestinian people and continue aggression against them.” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri threatened Israel and demanded they rethink their stance in relation to the Gaza Strip.
Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator in peace talks with Israel, blamed the international community for Netanyahu’s success.
“Such a result would not have been possible had the international community held Israel to account for its systematic violations of international law,” he declared.
Netanyahu’s victory, he continued, shows “the success of a campaign based on settlements, racism, apartheid and the denial of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.”
Erekat recently stated that Israel was worse than the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists. He also threatened to push forward with the prosecution of Israeli leaders at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes. “It is clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will form the next government, and for that, we say clearly that we will go to the Hague Tribunal, we will accelerate, continue and intensify” diplomatic efforts, Erekat told AFP.