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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It came to this: Netanyahu had to ask Berlusconi for help with Obama

In case you missed it, Haaretz reported on Tuesday that the US National Security Administration intercepted a 2010 phone call between Prime Minister Netanyahu and then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in which Netanyahu asked Berlusconi for help in repairing his relations with the self-declared 'most pro-Israel administration evah.'
During their conversation, Netanyahu claimed he needed Berlusconi's help due to an "absence of direct contact" between himself and President Barack Obama.

The document leaked to the WikiLeaks website is a brief summary of Netanyahu and Berlusconi's communications that was published by the NSA for internal usage by the American intelligence community and the White House. According to the document, the call was intercepted as part of U.S. monitoring of Berlusconi's office, and not through a wiretap on Israeli lines.

The conversation between Netanyahu and Berlusconi took place four days after a crisis erupted during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel on March 9 due to Israel's decision to green light 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, which is beyond the 1967 Green Line.

The NSA report said "Israel has reached out to Europe, including Italy, for help in smoothing out the current rift in its relations with the United States."

The call took place on an open international line, so it is likely Netanyahu knew the conversation would be intercepted by U.S. intelligence services. It is even possible Netanyahu used the conversation with Berlusconi to try to reach out to America.
I don't know which is more troubling here - the fact that Netanyahu even had to reach out to Berlusconi in the first place or the fact that the United States, which continues to hold Jonathan Pollard after he spent 30 years in jail for 'spying' on Israel's behalf, was spying on Israel in the first place.

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At 9:01 AM, Blogger 2senseplain said...

Looks more like the US was spying on Italy--which also is an ally last time I checked--and Netanyahu's call got picked up that way, possibly "by accident on purpose". Doesn't change that the US is being two-faced about spying on its allies though or that Obama has been treating Netanyahu like garbage.


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