The Obama administration is considering possibly offering a mild response to the statements Netanyahu made during his successful election campaign:
Angered by Netanyahu’s hard-line platform towards the Palestinians, top Obama officials would not rule out the possibility of a change in American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has historically fended off resolutions hostile to Israel.
That suggests that the administration is at least grudgingly moving in the right direction, but based on reports so far the “change” in posture that they have in mind is very small. According to Foreign Policy‘s account, the U.S. “is edging closer toward supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution that would call for the resumption of political talks to conclude a final peace settlement.” That’s fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t amount to very much. All that the administration appears to be willing to do right now is “consider” support for such a resolution, and that resolution could be easily ignored if it were ever passed. U.S. support for a resolution might make for some interesting symbolism, but I doubt that it would have much effect.
The resolution could call for resuming talks, but it isn’t going to be able to make the Israeli government agree to resume those talks. This seems to be as far as the administration is prepared to go, and it is not nearly far enough. Netanyahu’s gamble is that he can defy the U.S. on two of its most important regional policy goals without costing Israel significant American diplomatic or financial support, and there is very little in these reports that indicates that he is wrong to think that he can get away with this. According to all of these reports, there is no reason to expect that the U.S. will substantially alter its relationship with Israel in any other way than to consider support for a U.N. resolution that Israel will almost certainly dismiss as meaningless. If the administration wanted to get its point across, it would suspend aid or refuse to veto resolutions concerning Israel at the U.N. It would stop acting as the enabler of its client’s destructive behavior. That might actually get the client’s attention. But we already know that this isn’t going to happen. The administration will fume and some of its officials will make anonymous complaints about how Netanyahu has really done it this time, and then nothing of importance will happen.