Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped up his rhetoric in a media campaign against US President Barack Obama and his administration over the interim Geneva deal with Iran. Media sources yesterday quoted several high ranking Israeli officials who accused Washington of evading a confrontation with Iran while seeking to maintain the status quo with Iran for the next president.
According to reports on Israeli National Radio and Channel 10, senior political analysts accuse America of “complacency” about confronting Iran. “The international sanctions against Iran have collapsed,” they claimed. “What does Obama expect Netanyahu to do when he sees the sanctions collapsing while Iran continues with its nuclear project? Does he expect Netanyahu to remain silent and simply fax his objections to the American administration?”
Diplomatic commentator Chico Menashe said that the sharp tone Israel uses to criticise the US administration is almost identical to that used on the eve of the Geneva deal. “Despite a short truce,” he said, “there appears to have an order to step up the anti-Obama rhetoric.”
Haaretz newspaper’s main headline this morning read, “US rejects Israeli criticism, says not avoiding Iran confrontation at any cost”, which suggests that the US administration is frustrated with Israel’s verbal attacks against Obama’s policy over Iran. The newspaper concurs with Menashe, saying that Israel is displaying a crisis of confidence in President Obama and his top advisers, especially National Security Adviser Susan Rice and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Haaretz points out that the White House has similar feelings of mistrust and suspicion towards Netanyahu’s office.
It is noticeable that Israel uses anonymous high-ranking officials in its verbal war against the US administration. The US plays tit-for-tat. One high ranking source close to the policy-makers in Washington told Haaretz, “The US administration does not avoid confrontation with Iran, but we have an unprecedented opportunity, where the sanctions have succeeded and there is a new leadership in Iran, plus international unity, to come together to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue diplomatically.”
The US president and those close to him, claims Haaretz, do not understand Israel’s insistence on attacking their diplomatic efforts. “Obama and the White House feel that Netanyahu and his main man in the US Congress encourage the Republicans to attack President Obama’s policy towards the Iranian issue and to feed the American media with negative messages against the Geneva agreement.”