Diplomatic relations between Israel and the US are in a “full-blown crisis” amid growing reports of hostility between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, The Atlantic reported on Tuesday.
In an article written by Jeffry Goldberg, a senior Obama administration official explained that the supposed “unbreakable” bond between Israel and the US “is now the worst it’s ever been.”
The official made no qualms about how he and other Obama officials view the policies of the Israeli prime minister. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” the official stated.
US officials are supposedly being frustrated by Netanyahu’s “near-pathological desire for career-preservation” and nothing more, the article claimed.
“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the senior official stated. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states.”
“The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts,” the official added.
In regards to Iran, the Obama administration views Netanyahu’s threats to launch a preemptive strike against Iran as completely basis. The empty threats are too little, too late, the official explained.
“It’s too late for him to do anything. Two, three years ago, this was a possibility. But ultimately he couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger,” he said. “It was a combination of our pressure and his own unwillingness to do anything dramatic. Now it’s too late.”
Over the past week, diplomatic rhetoric between the two nations has heated up as the US condemned Netanyahu’s decision to approve the construction of 1,000 new homes in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Paski said that Israel’s decision to build across the Green Line was “incompatible with their stated desire to live in a peaceful society.”
Netanyahu rejected American and other international criticism. “We have built in Jerusalem, we are building in Jerusalem and we will continue to build in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
“I have heard a claim that our construction in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem makes peace more distant. It is the criticism which is make peace more distant,” he added.
The “breakdown in relations” between Obama and Netanyahu has brought a new era in Israel-US relations. According to Goldberg, Netanyahu has “written off” the Obama administration with the prime minister changing tactics by appealing to Congress and the American people.
US officials have expressed “red-hot anger” at Netanyahu for maintaining policies to build in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu, who on Tuesday criticized those who condemn Israeli construction beyond the Green Line as “disconnected from reality,” led Goldberg to say that “the Netanyahu government appears to be disconnected from reality.”
“Jerusalem is on the verge of exploding into a third Palestinian uprising. It is true that Jews have a moral right to live anywhere they want in Jerusalem, their holiest city,” Goldberg continued. “It is also true that a mature government understand that not all rights have to be exercised simultaneously.”
In response to The Atlantic’s report, the Prime Minister’s Office rebuffed the report. Israel Radio reported sources inside the office said that Netanyahu “will continue to stand for Israeli interests, and no pressure will change this.”
Speaking at the Knesset Wednesday afternoon, the prime minster made his first public comments about the report. “I respect our ties with the US,” he said. “I am being attacked because I am defending Israel.”