It’s been clear ever since the deal was struck that Israel was no fan of the six month “temporary arrangement” being cooked up with Iran. Bibi Netanyahu was out in front of the press calling it an historic mistake and refusing to have his nation bound by any such agreement. His criticism – along with that of many of Israel’s supporters – hasn’t tapered off since then, even though the White House seems to have bought itself six months to come up with something more palatable. But the President isn’t one to just ignore the concerns of a valued ally like Israel, so he placed a call to suggest to Netanyahu a new plan for moving things forward. Hey… how about you just shut up?
President Obama has sent a query to Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, asking the fiery and blunt-talking prime minister to take a break from his criticism of the U.S.-forged deal with Iran.
The Washington Post reported that Mr. Obama made the request during a phone call with the Israeli leader.
Mr. Netanyahu has publicly slammed the deal, saying Iran has won concessions that put Israel’s security in jeopardy. In the phone call, Mr. Obama said he’d keep Israel authorities in the loop on the final settlement arrangement —which could come as early as in six months — if Mr. Netanyahu could quiet his rhetoric a bit, The Hill reported.
Mr. Obama also reiterated that America and Israel have the same policy goals over Iran.
I’m not the expert on the Middle East here (I’ll leave that to Allahpundit), but even I don’t see this as a really high probability pitch. The real problem here may just be the one which was highlighted by the fact that Bibi came out blasting with a public statement on day one. Things have changed in the American Israeli relationship and this looks like a very telling symptom of it. There was a time when that press conference probably wouldn’t have happened. First of all, Israel probably would have either been at the table for the negotiations, or at least had a US rep on the phone with them keeping them updated as the talks proceeded. And if the deal looked like too much of a loser, Netanyahu would have picked up the phone and had the ear of the White House, cutting things off at the pass before they reached such a strained point.
Clearly Bibi doesn’t feel that’s a viable option with the current administration, so he winds up taking his case to the international community on CNN. Everyone is still painting a bit of a hopeful face on things – a requirement to be sure – because the day will have to come when the relationship gets back on a more historically normal keel. But for the time being, expect more of these public spats, at least until Israel feels they have the ear of the White House again.