It’s hard to tell if this remains simply a lover’s tiff (with no real consequence for the offending party, Israel) or something more. Certainly a war of words has erupted, and it’s rather fun to watch:
Israel‘s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, tried to smooth over a breach in relations with the US today, speaking out against unnamed confidants who described Barack Obama as pro-Palestinian and Israel’s “greatest disaster”.
Netanyahu made his first public comments after a fraught visit to Washington last week, where he held a long but low-key meeting with Obama that ended with significant disagreement.
Israeli reports said the US was pressing Israel to freeze settlement construction in East Jerusalem and to extend a temporary, partial curb on West Bank settlement building. But so far Netanyahu has shown no sign that he will bow to pressure from Washington. One of his most senior cabinet ministers was reported today as saying the US demands were unacceptable and there would be no compromise.
The Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli newspaper, sparked the premier’s anger when it quoted unnamed Netanyahu confidants delivering extraordinary criticisms of the US administration. One said Obama and Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, had “adopted a patently Palestinian line”.
“We’re talking about something that is diseased and insane,” the confidant told the paper. “The situation is catastrophic. We have a problem with a very, very hostile administration. There’s never been anything like this before. This president wants to establish the Palestinian state and he wants to give them Jerusalem … You could say Obama is the greatest disaster for Israel, a strategic disaster.”