President Barack Obama had a message for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday: German Chancellor Angela Merkel would not have accepted an invitation to speak before Congress without first notifying him.
"As much as I love Angela, if she was two weeks away from an election, she probably would not have received an invitation to the White House, and I suspect she wouldn't have asked for one," Obama said at a Monday press conference after meeting the German leader in Washington.
Obama's comments are said to reflect his anger over the fact that Netanyahu accepted an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of Congress.
Netanyahu and Boehner "didn't notify the Obama administration of the visit – an uncharacteristic breach of diplomatic protocol," the New York Daily News stated.
Other news outlets claimed Netanyahu's action was "unprecedented," and numerous congressional Democrats have said they will not attend.
But according to The New York Times,
the claim that Netanyahu failed to notify the administration is untrue. On Jan. 30, the Times included a correction at the end of a story that ran a day earlier about the strained relationship between Netanyahu and congressional Democrats.
an online publication, noted the correction, which read: "An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before."
Israeli officials told a television station on Friday that they are convinced the Obama administration has already agreed to most of Tehran's demands in the current negotiations over its nuclear program.
The unnamed officials claim Washington "has given the Iranians 80 percent of what they want" in the negotiations, Israel's Channel 10 reported.
Israeli officials are alarmed at the prospect that the United States will make a deal leaving Iran with a "breakout capacity" of months during which it can move towards a nuclear bomb, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The Israelis maintain that the practical significance of the compromises by the Obama administration in the talks is that Iran will be allowed to retain more than 7,000 centrifuges — sufficient for the regime to produce enough enriched material to move quickly toward a bomb in a matter of months.
Channel 10 reported that Netanyahu spoke to a number of Democratic members of Congress in an effort to address their concerns about Israel undermining Obama's foreign policy.
"We are in a continuous struggle with Iran which is opening new fronts against us, which is engaged in terrorism in the Middle East and throughout the world," Netanyahu said on Friday. "This is the same Iran that the world powers are now working toward an agreement that would leave in its hands the ability to develop a nuclear bomb. That is an agreement we are opposed to."
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