US officials expressed anger over Israel’s policy of “non-interference” with the Russian annexation of the Crimea; Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported.
A US official told the paper that the White House was disappointed with Israel’s absence from the UN General Assembly meeting two weeks ago to vote on condemning Russia’s military invasion of the Crimea and call to maintain Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
“We have been consulting closely on Ukraine not only with our partners and allies around the world. Obviously we are looking to the entire international community to condemn Russia’s actions and to support Ukraine, so we were surprised to see that Israel did not join the large majority of countries that voted to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity at the United Nations. Israel’s justification that it did not attend the meeting due to the Foreign Ministry strike is unacceptable” said the senior US official.
The US official said that Washington is particularly angry with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s failure to publically support the US position on the crisis.
According to Haaretz the US is especially disappointed with FM Lieberman who equated Israel’s relations with the United States to its relations with Russia. Lieberman is reported to have told Channel 9 that Israel has “good and trusting relations with the Americans and the Russians, and our experience has been very positive with both sides”. The official said “I do not understand this point of view, which calls for Israel to be dragged into this quagmire”.
According to the paper Israel is caught in a dilemma over the Ukrainian political crisis between the United States, its main ally and its fear of a Russian reaction that could harm Israeli interests.
The newspaper quoted an Israeli official as saying that Netanyahu cancelled a scheduled visit to St. Petersburg on June 16 and a meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin because of the crisis.