[UPDATE IN EXTENDED ARTICLE]
For the first time ever since becoming Prime Minister, Netanyahu will be leaving the U.S. without getting the chance to meet with the American President. This is a harsh blow dealt to Israel and to Netanyahu, as the White House declined his requests for a meeting and brushed off the Israeli Prime Minister, claiming Obama has “no time to meet,” and is “extremely busy.”
According to Haaretz, Netanyahu had requested to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama during a UN conference which will take place later this month. The Prime Minister’s office in Israel sent a message to the White House clearly stating that although Netanyahu would only be in the United States for two days, it is extremely important to him that he meet with Obama, and he is even willing to travel to the U.S. solely for the purpose of meeting. The White House rejected this request outright, claiming that Obama’s schedule is completely filled up right now, and he is unable to meet Netanyahu.
Being that this is the first time that Netanyahu is visiting the U.S. as Prime Minister of Israel without seeing Obama, this marks a new low in relations with Obama and Netanyahu. Although Israel is dependent on the U.S. in matter of security, the tension between both parties is palpable. This past Tuesday, Netanyahu lashed out against Obama’s views on the Iranian nuclear program. “They say be patient, just wait. Wait for what? Until when?” Netanyahu proclaimed that if the U.S. refuses to place boundaries before Iran, then they have no moral right to place boundaries before Israel. He continued in an outburst of anger “Now if Iran knows that there are no boundaries. If Iran knows that there is no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing. It’s continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stated that to discuss Iran and the topic of nuclear weapons in a public forum is not proper, and the Israeli Prime Minister and U.S. President should talk about these kinds of issues behind closed doors. However, it doesn’t seem as though Netanyahu will have that chance, at least, not anytime in the near future, as his request had been denied.
UPDATE 5:20PM EST: According to breaking report by Ynet, The White House denied Tuesday that US President Barack Obama refused a request made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet in Washington later in September, while Netanyahu will be visiting the United States.
(Hadassa Blaustein – YWN)