The White House says it is evaluating its path forward following Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's comments that he was backing away from a two-state solution. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The White House said on Thursday that it is evaluating its path forward, following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments that he was backing away from a two-state solution. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters it is clear that Netanyahu, during his campaign, walked back from his previous commitment to a two-state solution with Palestinians. Netanyahu denied on Thursday abandoning his commitment to the eventual creation of a Palestinian state, backing away from comments he made during his re-election campaign that drew sharp criticism from Israel's ally, the United States. "I haven't changed my policy. I never retracted my speech in Bar-Ilan University six years ago calling for a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish State," Netanyahu said in an interview with MSNBC two days after winning a bitterly contested Israeli election. "What has changed is the reality," Netanyahu said, citing the Palestinian Authority's refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and the Hamas militant group's continued control of the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu drew a sharp rebuke from the United States and the international community for his comments on the eve of Tuesday's election that there would be no Palestinian state created on his watch. The quest for Palestinian statehood is a cornerstone of both U.S. diplomacy going back decades and President Barack Obama's Middle East policy. On Wednesday, the White House scolded Netanyahu for abandoning his commitment to negotiate for a Palestinian state and for "divisive" campaign rhetoric toward Israel's minority Arab voters. Netanyahu backed off his election eve comment on Thursday. "I don't want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution. But for that, circumstances have to change," he told MSNBC.