Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Israel under veiled US threat of diplomatic isolation
The high-stakes conversations Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu held in Washington with President Barack Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton on March 23-24 only deepened the crisis marring relations between the two governments, debkafile's Washington sources report.
Netanyahu, defense minister Ehud Barak and their aides, received a strong impression that the White House's hand was behind certain European steps to drive Israeli into a corner on the points at issue. For example, even if the British government needed no encouragement to pick a fight with Israel over an unproven link with the forged passports used by the Dubai killers, Washington knew about the British plan to expel an Israeli diplomat. Its silence was taken by London as a go-ahead and a signal to the Netanyahu government that punishment could be coming from Washington too and that Israel could pay for defying the Obama administration with broad international isolation. France is also considering lining up behind this campaign.
President Obama showed his displeasure with the Israeli government's failure to cave in to his demands - especially after Netanyahu's declaration that Jerusalem is no settlement but "our capital" to the AIPAC conference Monday - by ordering all the Israeli prime minister's meetings in Washington to take place without statements, news coverage or the cameras which normally record smiles and handshakes between friendly leaders.