The White House has shot-down a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with US President Barack Obama later this month, a rejection that comes right after an unusually hostile statement directed towards the United States.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is not expected to meet with Mr. Obama later this month when the Israeli PM comes stateside to visit the United Nations in New York City, despite a plea recently extended to the White House. Reuters report that Netanyahu’s office had requested a meeting with the American commander-in-chief, but that staffers for the president don’t seem interested in entertaining the idea.
“[T]he White House has got back to us and said it appears a meeting is not possible. It said that the president’s schedule will not permit that,” an Israeli official tells Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Washington has denied that they flatly refused Israeli PM Netanyahu’s request for a meeting and that a scheduling conflict was the catalyst in the decision. On the heels of a series of publicized disagreements between the two allies, however, the rejection is being seen by some as a response motivated by something much different.
Despite a time-tested relationship, Israel and the United States have not seem eye-to-eye as of late in regards to a nuclear procurement program in Iran that is rumored to have been established for the sake of securing a chemical weapon for the Iranians.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu deterred from a news conference with the prime minister of Bulgaria to speak, in English, about how he personally views the United States’ attitudes towards the Iranian nuclear conflict.
“The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?'” Netanyahu said. “Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”
Netanyahu’s remarks are being considered a direct statement to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who days earlier said explicitly that the Obama administration doesn’t intend on laying out “red lines” regarding Iran, adding, “We’re not setting deadlines.”
Israel insists that Iran is eager to get their hands on a nuke and will strike Netanyahu’s government is given the chance, a dilemma that requires immediate American intervention before a full-fledged war erupts. President Obama, while still showing support for Israel, has refused to ramp up pressure on Iran to a point of aggression.
Conservatives in the US have made the Israel/Iran issue a main talking point of the Republican National Committee’s platform as the party faces the upcoming presidential election, and GOP candidate Mitt Romney has repeatedly vowed to ensure America’s allies are guaranteed a safety that sanctions authorized by Obama has not yet allowed.
On his part, President Obama says he refuses to allow Iran to procure a nuke, but Netanyahu suggests that current leadership in Washington may be attempting loosening their ties with Israel.
“If Iran knows that there is no ‘deadline’, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing. It’s continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining a nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs,” Netanyahu added this week.
“So far we can say with certainty that diplomacy and sanctions haven’t worked. The sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy but they haven’t stopped the Iranian nuclear programme. That’s a fact. And the fact is that every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs.”