Obama's congratulatory call to Netanyahu sounds more like a warning.

Obama's Congratulatory Call to Netanyahu Sounds More Like a Stern Warning

Obama's Congratulatory Call to Netanyahu Sounds More Like a Stern Warning

The Slatest
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March 19 2015 6:30 PM

Obama's Congratulatory Call to Netanyahu Sounds More Like a Stern Warning

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Netanyahu and Obama in (slightly) happier times.

Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

On Thursday, President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his recent electoral victory. However, their conversation—which came nearly two days after Netanyahu declared victory—appears to have been more of a stern warning than a chummy chat. In the final moments of his campaign, Netanyahu abruptly declared that he had given up on a "two-state solution," suggesting he would not allow Palestinians to form an independent nation. And though the Prime Minister walked back that claim following his triumph, reports of Thursday's conversation suggest Obama isn't quite ready to move on:

Obama does not seem to have explained precisely what it means to "reassess our options." However, his cryptic advisory does suggest that, at the very least, the president may begin to take a harder line against the Israeli government's refusal to engage seriously in peace talks with Palestinians.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers the law and LGBTQ issues.