U.S. and Israeli flags
U.S. and Israeli flags Flash 90

Did the Israeli government give a heads-up to the Biden administration prior to declaring six “humanitarian” Palestinian organizations to be terrorist entities, or not? Did Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s decision to make the declaration harm Israel-American relations? What is all the furor actually about?

According to Yehoshua Zarka, deputy director-general of the department for strategic interests within the Foreign Ministry, the Americans were updated prior to Gantz’s announcement, but may have expected a more in-depth briefing than the one they originally were given.

Zarka was speaking with Efi Triger on Galei Tzahal, and told Triger, “Of course I updated the Americans on our intentions. It could be, however, that they thought that the update should have been more in-depth – and that would be legitimate.”

Zarka added that while it might be “interesting to get bogged down in discussing the dispute and misunderstanding, it isn’t the main priority. What we want to do now is fix things so that something like this doesn’t happen again. Our relations with the United States are very important and we don’t want to leave them feeling that they aren’t our partners.”

All the same, Zarka downplayed any suggestion that the spat was significant in the long-run. “To categorize this as a crisis would be wrong,” he said. “There are those who enjoy exaggerating things like that, but it was just one small incident in the larger picture of a visit to Washington that incorporated many meetings and covered many topics. At the end of the day, what we learned from this is that the Americans want more in-depth briefings, so that’s what we’ll be doing. And that’s it.”