The Biden administration continues to insist that it wasn’t informed beforehand about Israel’s decision to designate six Palestinian “civil rights” groups as terrorist entities.
“It is to the best of our knowledge accurate that we did not receive a specific heads-up about any forthcoming designations,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price at a press briefing on Monday when asked about Israel’s claim that it had informed the US State Department of its intention ahead of time.
Price added that the US “looked forward to hearing more details” from an Israeli delegation traveling to Washington later this week.
However, a senior official in Israel’s Foreign Ministry said he was baffled by Price’s claim, since Joshua Zarka, the Deputy Director of the Strategic Affairs Department in the Foreign Ministry, personally spoke with a US official in the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism ahead of time. The Foreign Ministry official believes that the US official may not have understood the implications of the information and failed to pass it on.
Zarka told Army Radio on Monday that he “certainly updated the US about Israel’s intentions” but perhaps “they think the update should have been more in-depth. That’s legitimate.”
Meanwhile, it’s not only the US that is upset about the lack of notification on the issue. Many members of the coalition, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, are miffed at Gantz, who apparently did not inform any other members of the coalition about his decision prior to his announcement.
Additionally, the left-wing members of the coalition are even more upset at Gantz that he harmed Israel’s “delicate relations” with the Palestinians, and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev (Labor) said that he was not informed of the matter beforehand despite his position overseeing national security matters.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)