No change in White House approach to Israel following new coalition


(JTA) — The Obama administration will not change its policy approach toward Israel in light of the new government coalition, a White House spokesman said.

"[A] new coalition government in Israel certainly will not affect our policy approach, and we continue to have very good relations with leaders in Israel and we have significant support for — we provide significant support for and coordination with Israel’s military on security interests, and share a lot of information when it comes to intelligence," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday morning on Air Force One. The reporters were accompanying President Obama to Albany, N.Y., where he was delivering a speech.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he had forged a 94-seat unity government with the entrance of the left-of-center Kadima party into the coalition. 

In answer to a reporter’s question, Carney also said that the White House is working "very closely with the Israelis on the Iran issue."

"On Iran, our position is as it was, which is we absolutely share Israel’s concern about the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions," he said. "We have pursued a policy approach that has effectively isolated Iran and united the world in identifying Iran’s behavior as the problem. And we have, through sanctions and other means, made clear to the Iranians that there is a high price to pay for their refusal to abide by their international obligations."

Carney also said the White House believes that the Israelis and the Palestinians "need to take steps towards peace. They need to refrain from actions that make it harder to reach the kind of — well, to reach the negotiating table, where they can work on a solution that still needs to be found."

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