Washington: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday defended the strength of relations between his country and the US despite the fact that President Barack Obama still has not telephoned him to congratulate him on his reelection, and he emphasised that Israel "has no greater ally" than Washington.
Netanyahu made his remarks in an interview granted to NBC, of which portions were made public on Thursday.
"We have so many things that unite (Israel and the US). We have a situation in the Middle East that is very dangerous and presents a common challenge to us. We work together. We have to... America has no greater ally than Israel, and Israel has no greater ally than the United States," he said.
Relations between Netanyahu and Obama are testy and problematic, given that the Israeli leader rejects the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme being headed by Washington and the White House is making those talks a priority.
In addition, Netanyahu, popularly known as "Bibi" in Israel, early this month addressed a joint session of Congress after accepting an invitation from the Republican opposition, something that the Obama administration considers to be a violation of protocol, given that it was not notified of the speech, as is customary.
Meanwhile, the US has expressed its concern about remarks Netanyahu made prior to his victory in which he said that he would not allow the creation of a Palestinian state, a last-minute move he appears to have resorted to to attract right-wing voters when he was trailing the opposition Zionist Union in pre-election surveys.
On Monday, before the election, Netanyahu had said that he felt that anyone who establishes a Palestinian state and evacuates Jewish-settled territories would be providing a reason for an attack on Israel by radical Islamists.
However, in the NBC interview he appeared to change his stance and sought to reassure the interviewer that he had not backtracked from the two-state solution and moved far to the right.
"I never retracted my speech in Bar Ilan University six years ago calling for a demilitarised Palestinian state that recognised the Jewish state. I want a sustainable peaceful two-state solution. But for that, circumstances have to change," he said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has already telephoned the Israeli leader to congratulate him, but Obama, when asked about the matter on Thursday by reporters, refused to respond as to whether he had already spoken with Netanyahu.