Israeli sources today reported the failure of talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barak Obama. After three hours of negotiations, the two sides failed to reach any agreement on the substantive issues and it appears relations have worsened.
The same sources revealed that another meeting between Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Netanyahu, which preceded that with Obama, was very heated and noted that Clinton threatened to take severe action in relation to Israel’s international status if its government continues to ignore the demands of the American administration to end settlement construction.
Israeli Army Radio has said that the reports from Jerusalem of a new pronouncement by the municipality to build 20 new housing units for settlers in Sheikh Jaraa, was received with indignation in Washington. So much so that American diplomats attending the talks regarded this as a clear affront to Washington.
According to an Israeli source within the delegation, Tel Aviv now feels that the EU and Washington are collaborating against Netanyahu in order to force a change of policy on settlements in Jerusalem. It is believed that Washington encouraged Britain to expel the director of the Mossad Office in Britain and it has also encouraged other European countries to do likewise. London, the source noted, would not have taken this step without consultation with Washington.
The general impression among the Israeli delegation is that Netanyahu has become a persona non grata (i.e., not welcomed), hence the meetings with Obama, Clinton and Biden ended without any joint statement or photo opportunities.
The same sources said that apart from the threat to isolate Israel politically, there were also signals that Washington is considering reducing its level of military assurances to Israel.
Source: Sama, Jerusalem