WSJ: US-Israel Relations Plunging to New Low Under Obama

Image: WSJ: US-Israel Relations Plunging to New Low Under Obama US President Barack Obama, and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Andrew Harrer/DPA/Landov)

Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 07:20 AM

By Elliot Jager

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U.S.-Israel relations are at their lowest point since President Barack Obama took office, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Having essentially given up on the White House, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been counting on military-to-military ties and backing from the U.S. Congress, the Journal reported.

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An angry Obama, meanwhile, has instructed that future Israeli requests for weaponry including ammunition be approved at the White House, the Journal reported.

The president was reportedly taken aback to learn that the Pentagon had authorized Jerusalem to tap into a pre-positioned weapons stockpile in the Jewish state. This undercut White House and State Department efforts to pressure Israel into halting its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

The president considers Netanyahu to be out of control and not to be trusted. Israeli officials characterize the president and his team as naïve, the Journal reported.

The administration believes that the Israelis have not been doing enough to limit civilian casualties in Gaza, risking a humanitarian catastrophe. It also says that its efforts to bring about a ceasefire have been undermined by Israeli opposition to giving Qatar and Turkey roles in the process.

The Obama administration was particularly incensed when on July 30 a U.S.-supplied Israeli shell struck a United Nations school in Gaza, the Journal reported. The Israeli army has again and again accused Hamas of shooting from schools, mosques, and hospitals, according to Israeli media.

The administration was further riled when on Aug. 2 Netanyahu telephoned U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to say that he didn't want the Obama administration "to ever second-guess me again" about how to deal with Hamas. The White House accused Israel of leaking the conversation, the Journal reported.

While tension between Obama and Netanyahu is nothing new the mistrust has become "very personal," according to an Israeli official, the Journal reported.

Meanwhile, Israeli media are reporting that the president is also slowing down the additional $225 million in funding for the Iron Dome anti-rocket system that was approved by Congress.

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