U.S. President George W. Bush has declined to meet with former Prime Minister and current Likud Opposition Leader MK Binyamin Netanyahu during his upcoming visit to Israel, slated to begin on Wednesday, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Sources in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party quoted in the report offered this explanation: “At the White House, they think [Mr. Netanyahu] is a liar because of his behavior when he was prime minister.”
Outraged Likud officials accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of sabotaging what would normally be a routine meeting between a visiting U.S. President and an Israeli Opposition Leader, a long-established diplomatic custom.
“Given the extent to which the prime minister is willing to endanger the country to survive politically, it is not surprising that the Prime Minister’s Office is going out of its way to prevent Bibi (Netanyahu) from meeting with Bush,” said senior Likud sources.
A spokesman for Olmert stated that he was unaware of any efforts to block a meeting between Bush and Netanyahu.
Bush has no plans to meet with any politician or other officials opposed to the Annapolis process.