Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to publicly harden his line against Iran during a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on March 5, according to a senior Israeli official.Israel wants Obama to make further-reaching declarations than the vague assertion that "all options are on the table," the official said. In particular, Netanyahu wants Obama to state unequivocally that the United States is preparing for a military operation in the event that Iran crosses certain "red lines," said the official; Israel feels this will increase pressure on Iran by making clear that there exists a real U.S. threat.Officials in both Jerusalem and Washington acknowledge a serious lack of trust between Israel and the United States with regard to the issue of a possible strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
According to sources, the lack of trust between Israeli and U.S. officials appears to stem from, among other things, a mutual feeling that the other country is interfering in its own internal political affairs. Netanyahu suspects that the U.S. administration is attempting to turn Israeli public opinion against an attack on Iran, say sources.
The issue of strengthening U.S. rhetoric against Iran was raised last week by Israeli officials who met with Tom Donilon, the U.S. national security adviser who visited Israel last week. It was also raised by Defense Minister Ehud Barak during his Washington visit, which included a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden yesterday. Other senior Israeli officials - such as Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud ) and Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor (Likud) - have made similar comments to senior U.S. officials recently.Netanyahu apparently complained bitterly about certain officials in the Obama administration who spoke out against an Israeli strike on Iran. But between the lines, some suggest that Netanyahu was speaking about Obama himself, as well as the other very senior officials in the administration. He reportedly told the senators that this kind of public discourse serves the Iranians.In Netanyahu's view, this is all part of a goal to enlist both Israeli and U.S. public support against such a strike, sources say, and is part of what he considers to be U.S. interference in internal Israeli affairs.The Obama administration's suspicions concerning Netanyahu were further fueled after Netanyahu and his advisers briefed a group of senators and senior congressmen during the past two weeks on the Iranian issue, and asked them to pressure Obama on the matter. Last week, Netanyahu met a group of five senior senators over lunch, headed by Sen. John McCain, who ran four years ago against Obama for president.The White House was furious after McCain spoke out after the meeting with Netanyahu, said one source. The Obama administration viewed this as Israeli intervention in U.S. internal political affairs, with Netanyahu briefing McCain and McCain repeating his statements like a parrot, according to a senior U.S. official.Netanyahu also believes that Obama's scheduled meeting with President Shimon Peres during the upcoming AIPAC conference constitutes an attempt by the United States to interfere in Israel's internal affairs, say sources.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Netanyahu vs Obama: March 15, 2012
Below is an interesting article on the upcoming meeting between U.S. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu:
This isn't going well at all so far. We'll have to see what the March 5th meeting brings, and it may take a few weeks for the truth to leak out, once the standard rhetoric is given in the standard, expected speeches. But sooner or later the truth will leak out and that will be the interesting part of these meetings.
Posted by Scott at Tuesday, February 28, 2012