The cold relationship between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems
to have noted a new drop in temperature following Obama's Mideast policy speech,
and according to the New York Times, tensions between Washington and Jerusalem are at an all-time high.
Obama has reportedly told close aides and allies that he does not believe Netanyahu will ever be willing to make the kind of big concessions that will lead to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
Netanyahu, for his part, has complained that Obama has pushed Israel too far — a point poignantly expressed during what has been described as a furious phone call with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, where Netanyahu reacted angrily to the president’s plan to endorse Israel’s pre-1967 borders for a future Palestinian state.
The prime minister's associates said that he "desperately wants" Obama to use the diplomatic muscle of the US to protect Israel from the coming unilateral statehood bid the Palestinians plan for September; not only by vetoing in the Security Council, but also by leaning hard on Washington's European allies to get them to reject it as well.
Obama has indicated that he will certainly do the first, but it remains unclear how far he will go to persuade the UK, France and other US allies to join the White House in rejecting the move.
In a statement after Obama’s speech on Thursday, the Prime Minister's Office said that the prime minister would raise his concerns about Obama’s language about the pre-1967 borders during Friday’s meeting.
“While there were many points in the president’s speech that we appreciate and welcome, there were other aspects, like the return to the 1967 borders, which depart from longstanding American policy, as well as Israeli policy, going back to 1967,” Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, told the newspaper.