Obama Refuses to Speak to Netanyahu
US President Barack Obama has refused to answer phone calls from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "more than once," according to Kuwaiti news source Al-Jarida.
In a deliberate snub, Netanyahu's calls have instead been forwarded to US Secretary of State John Kerry.
An American source told Al-Jarida that Jewish American politicians have been keen to fix the situation, which has steadily been deteriorating over the past month, and are attempting to set up a meeting between the two world leaders at the White House.
The news is the latest in a series of public spats between the two nations, whose differences about the handling of a nuclear Iran threaten the traditional US-Israel alliance.
Obama, issued a direct warning to Congress against further sanctions on Iran last Thursday, saying that a deal in the works could prevent the "unintended consequences" of war.
"If we're serious about pursuing diplomacy, there's no need for us to add new sanctions on top of the sanctions that are already very effective and that brought them to the table in the first place," Obama said.
Obama has also reportedly been in the process of lifting the sanctions for over 5 months - without a deal with Iran or express Congressional approval.
The statements follow controversial remarks by Kerry last Wednesday, who told Republican senators who were briefed about recent talks with Iran to “ignore anything the Israelis say” about the issue.
Kerry's visit to Israel this past month to facilitate peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was something of a diplomatic disaster, after he reportedly threatened a third intifada and then pledged over $75 million in financial support to the Palestinian Arabs.
Netanyahu, meanwhile, has been urging world leaders to avoid the deal, in a bid for both Israel's national security and international safety from a nuclear Iran. "Israel prefers the diplomatic option over any other option. But we want a genuine diplomatic solution that dismantles Iran's military nuclear capabilities,” Netanyahu said in remarks at the Bloomberg Fuel Choices Summit.
“The proposal that was put on the table, the details of which we are familiar with, is a bad deal. It leaves Iran with nuclear capabilities for military objectives, and provides it with a significant easing of sanctions. The additional danger is that it gives Iran legitimacy to be a nuclear threshold state. That goes against the interest of the international community,” he stressed.
The war of words has trickled down the political ladder this weekend; Naftali Bennett and Jewish Home members continue to rally US support for the Israeli stance on the issue, while US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has reportedly approached the Israeli media in attempts to win over Israeli public support.
Shapiro's words may fall on deaf ears, however; a poll recently revealed that most Israelis believe that the IDF could and should strike Iran on its own.