Obama Calls to Congratulate Netanyahu

YERUSHALAYIM -

The White House said on Thursday that President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a phone call that he looks forward to working with him and his new governing coalition.

The congratulatory message came the day after Netanyahu overcame last-minute obstacles to a coalition agreement with the Jewish Home party to give him a ruling majority of 61 out of 120 Knessets seats.

“As President Obama has emphasized, the U.S. places great importance on our close military, intelligence and security cooperation with Israel,” the White House National Security Council added in an online statement.

In contrast with Netanyahu’s March election victory, after which Obama did not pick up the phone to call Yerushalayim for two days, which raised eyebrows, this time the congratulations came much more quickly.

Netanyahu got a less heartwarming reaction from Ramallah.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP that the new Isralei government “will be one of war which will be against peace and stability in our region.”

Erekat said that the government will “set its sights” on expansion of the Jewish presence in Yehudah and Shomron.

The new government is expected to be sworn in on Monday.