White House cancels meeting, scolds Netanyahu in protest over video

White House cancels meeting, scolds Netanyahu in protest over video

Axios reports:

The White House canceled a high-level U.S.-Israel meeting on Iran that was scheduled for Thursday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video on Tuesday claiming the U.S. was withholding military aid, two U.S. officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: President Biden’s top advisers were enraged by the video — a message U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein delivered personally to Netanyahu in a meeting hours after it was published, two U.S. and Israeli sources say. Then the White House decided to go a step farther by canceling Thursday’s meeting.

  • “This decision makes it clear that there are consequences for pulling such stunts,” a U.S. official said.
  • “The Americans are fuming. Bibi’s video made a lot of damage,” a senior Israeli official said, using a nickname for Netanyahu.
  • Some Israeli officials were already en route to Washington when the meeting was cancelled.
  • Two U.S. officials told Axios the meeting was canceled to send a message about the video. A third claimed the meeting was postponed rather than canceled, due to a scheduling issue.
  • [Continue reading…]

The Times of Israel reports:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the decision yesterday to publicly criticize US President Joe Biden’s administration even though ministers and advisers had recommended him against it, according to a report by Channel 13 news.

The report says a clandestine meeting held before the video statement — which accused Washington of withholding arms shipments to Israel, calling it “inconceivable” — included National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and other officials, all of whom unequivocally objected to Netanyahu’s intention.

Dermer asked the premier to wait with the public criticism until he and Hanegbi meet US officials at the White House tomorrow, the report says.

The network quotes an unnamed senior Israeli official as saying that “Netanyahu made the decision against the opinion of the advisers and ministers with whom he consulted.”

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