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Monday, February 16, 2015

It's come to this: Obama mouthpiece accuses Netanyahu of leaking US negotiating positions on Iran

It's not Jeffrey Goldberg this time. This time, the Obama administration has gone to the Washington Post's David Ignatius, another staunch Obama supporter, to accuse Prime Minister Netanyahu of leaking US negotiating positions on Iran (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
An initial report Sunday by Israel’s Channel 2 news that the administration had cut all communications with Israel about the Iran talks was denied by White House spokesman Alistair Baskey. Sources here said that Philip Gordon, the Middle East director for President Obama’s National Security Council, would see Israeli national security adviser Yossi Cohen and other senior officials on Monday. The discussion would include Iran policy, but U.S. officials aren’t likely to share the latest information about U.S. strategy in the talks.
his latest breach in the U.S.-Israeli relationship began around Jan. 12 with a phone call from Netanyahu. Obama asked the Israeli leader to hold fire diplomatically for several more months while U.S. negotiators explored whether Iran might agree to a deal that, through its technical limits on centrifuges and stockpiles, extended the breakout period that Iran would need to build a bomb to more than a year. But Netanyahu is said to have responded that a year wasn’t enough and to have reverted to Israel’s hard-line insistence that Iran shouldn’t be allowed any centrifuges or enrichment.

Obama was concerned because the United States had shared with Israel its goal of a one-year breakout period since the beginning of the talks. The White House saw Netanyahu’s comment as a change, one that could potentially scuttle the negotiations. The Israeli response is that Netanyahu has always argued for “zero enrichment.”
Relations began to unravel quickly after the phone call. On Jan. 21, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Netanyahu to address Congress and share his concerns about the talks. The invitation hadn’t been pre-negotiated with the White House, as is usually the case when foreign leaders are invited to address Congress.
Then came the alleged leaks about the nuclear talks. On Jan. 31, the Times of Israel reported that an unnamed senior Israeli official had told Channel 10 TV news that the United States was ready to allow more than 7,000 centrifuges and had “agreed to 80 percent of Iran’s demands.” Channel 2 reported that the U.S. offer was 6,500 centrifuges. U.S. officials believed that Netanyahu’s office was the source of these reports and concluded that they couldn’t be as transparent as before with the Israel leader about the secret talks.
Asked for comment, an official in Netanyahu’s office said: “The details of the last round of negotiations are known in Washington, Paris, London, Moscow, Beijing, Berlin and Tehran. It is perplexing that a decision would be made to try to keep those details a secret from Jerusalem when Israel is threatened by Iran with annihilation and its very survival could be threatened by a bad deal.”
There's more too. Obama is apparently going to use the 'Palestinians' as a club to beat Israel. Read the whole thing.

And for those who have forgotten the infamous picture of Netanyahu eating cookies with Obama under a very significant painting, it's from 2009. Here's how Haaretz described it then:
In the photo, which was released on Friday, the pair are sitting around a dinning table, speaking and smiling as if the relations between their two countries had never been strained. A painting hangs on the wall beside the two leaders, which if Netanyahu did not see it, or saw it and did not understand its significance, then Obama, who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, must have taken the trouble to explain to him its historic importance.

In the picture, which was painted in 1865 by the artist George Peter Alexander Healy, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, is seen conferring with William Sherman, Ulysses Grant and David Porter, the commanders of the Union army. During conversations the four men held on the River Queen steamboat on March 27 and March 28 of that year, just over a week before the end of the U.S. Civil War, they discussed the conditions of the peace treaty they would offer the defeated Confederate forces. The accord, even if it had many deficiencies, brought about the reunion of the North and South, the economic recovery of the South, the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of African Americans.

Obama's message to Netanyahu, if there really was such a message, is quite clear: If you end the blood feud and make a peace of the brave, you will be remembered in history as a great leader, like Lincoln (the former president most esteemed by Obama).
What could go wrong?

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At 10:15 PM, Blogger Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Given the Netanyahu family's education and interests in history, I wouldn't be totally surprised in Netanyahu knew as much or more about it than POTUS.


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