MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said on Thursday that it is okay to say “no” to U.S. President Barack Obama if Israel's security is at stake.
"The United States is a senior partner of ours and is very important to us, but this partnership cannot come at the expense of the security of Israel's citizens," Elkin told Army Radio.
"So because of the pressure exerted on us by the Americans we should give up on the security of Israel's citizens and strike a deal which is unequivocally in favor of Hamas? I expect the government to know when to tell the Americans ‘no,’" he added.
Elkin’s comments came in the wake of reports that Obama's administration stopped a shipment of missiles to Israel late last month and tightened weapons shipment procedures to Israel.
Obama has been at odds with Israel over the defensive operation in Gaza, making various attempts to press Israel into accepting a truce with the adamant terrorist organization of Hamas.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly responded to the pressure by telling the administration "not to ever second guess me again," after Hamas committed one of its many ceasefire violations.
Earlier on Thursday, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) chided Netanyahu for allowing the relationship with Israel's ally to deteriorate.
"The relations with the United States are a strategic asset. Harming these relations could cause a deterioration that will wind up harming Israel's security,” Livni told Channel 2 News, in what sounded like criticism of the way Netanyahu and his bureau have handled the relationship with the White House.
"Both before the military operation and after it, some of the ministers and MKs spoke in a scandalous way about the U.S.,” she opined. “We need to understand that the relationship with the U.S. is the basis for Israel's security needs. Whoever reacts and says 'we rely on ourselves alone' does not know what he is talking about, and does not understand Israel's security needs.”
Lapid said that the tension with the U.S. is “a worrisome trend that we must not allow to continue. Relations with the U.S. are a strategic asset that must not be harmed. Just last week, I spoke to Secretary of State Kerry, and to Senator Harry Reid, Head of the Democratic majority, to thank them for the emergency assistance they gave Israel for Iron Dome. Sometimes, one needs to know how to simply say thank you, and make sure that the relations with the U.S. continue to be this strong friendship, which is so important to the state of Israel.”