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Israelis Hope Obama-Netanyahu Rift Will Result In Change


President Obama is showing no signs of backing off his criticism of Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The president, yesterday, said Netanyahu's pre-election comments opposing a Palestinian state hurt the peace process. And he said the U.S. has to, quote, "evaluate what other options are available." While there is growing sentiment in Israel that the White House is overreacting to campaign rhetoric, NPR's Emily Harris reports that some are welcoming this rift.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Few Israelis remember relations with Washington seeming this spiteful before. But settler activist Daniella Weiss says it's fine with her to get this disagreement out in the open. She does not want Netanyahu to help establish a Palestinian state and believes the White House understands his position correctly.

DANIELLA WEISS: Obama accepts it, maybe regretfully, but understands that this is what is going to happen, that Netanyahu will not enable the creation of another state in the land of Israel.

HARRIS: From the left side of the political spectrum, former diplomat Alon Liel agrees with the U.S. position that creating a Palestinian state is the right way to peace. But he says President Obama's recent criticism of Netanyahu isn't enough to get there.

ALON LIEL: It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean anything because if it's only talking, Israel will go do whatever it wants.

HARRIS: As the White House re-evaluates its position, Netanyahu is forming his government. It will be a coalition of parties, likely with several key members, as Liel points out, who are openly against a Palestinian state. Emily Harris, NPR News, Jerusalem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

International Correspondent Emily Harris is based in Jerusalem as part of NPR's Mideast team. Her post covers news related to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She began this role in March of 2013.