By Javier ManjarresSeveral more news agencies are now reporting on the post-press conference/open-mic conversation that occurred between French President Nicholas Sarkozy and President Barack Obama at the G-8 Summit last week, an exchange in which both leaders expressed some pretty strong disdain towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So now the question that begs is just how strained are U.S.- Israeli relations?
As the two leaders discussion turns to Israel and the Palestinians, Sarkozy is first to express his distaste for the conservative Israeli Prime Minister.
In response, according to the account by Arret Sur Images, Mr. Obama sympathizes with Sarkozy’s frustration, saying, “you’re fed up, but I have to deal with him every day.” (CBS News)
Several months back, Netanyahu rejected President Obama’s rejected proposal for Israel to pull back its borders to their 1967 locations. Netanyahu chided President Obama for proposing such a solution and stated that the borders that existed prior to 1967 are now “indefensible.”In a subsequent trip to the White House to visit with President Obama, Netanyahu delivered one of the more memorable diplomatic schoolings of any sitting U.S. President in recent history. Netanyahu reiterated his position that Israel will not retreat behind its 1967 borders and that “Israel cannot negotiate with a Palestinian government back by Hamas, Hamas is a terrorist organization commited to Israel’s destruction.. Israel cannot be asked to negotiate with a government that is backed by the Palestinian version fo Al Qaeda.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu clearly stated that he and President Obama had differences in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian border, as well as the Palestinian refugee problem that Netanyahu says will not be resolved within Israel-
It’s not going to happen, everybody knows it’s not going to happen, and I think it’s time to tell the Palestinians forthrightly, it’s not going to happen.” – Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
In speech after speech, Obama has distanced the United States from Israel, castigating Israel over housing projects in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, even making a dangerous and unprecedented call to start negotiations based on the pre-1967 borders that made Israel’s security vulnerable in the first place.-(George Allen, Newsmax)
So given this history, just how big is the rift between Netanyahu and Obama? According to DNC Chairwoman/Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz,”there has never been a riff between Prime Minister Netanyahu” and President Obama (Source: Shark Tank VIDEO)Wasserman-Schultz made this remark during a rally for Israel event in Davie, Florida on August 28, 2011.
So is there a major diplomatic riff as well as a strong animosity between the two heads of state? Does Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s assessment of current U.S.-Israel relations pass the laugh test? You make the call.