Following yesterday’s landmark but somewhat perplexing meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, panelists explored on US-Israel relations on Wednesday’s edition of “Washington Unplugged.”
The meeting comes at a frosty time in diplomatic relations between the two nations, following Israel’s announcement two weeks ago that it planned to construct new housing in East Jerusalem. White House correspondent Bill Plante said the nature of the visit differed greatly from those in the past, as the media was not permitted to take photographs of Netanyahu and Mr. Obama together, and neither were made available for questions following the meeting.
“Normally any Israeli Prime Minister visiting the White House gets the full red carpet treatment,” said Plante. “Not this time. The lid was on, and the Israeli press is saying it is because there are serious disagreements in the two conversations that Prime Minister Netanyahu had with President Obama.”
According to White House sources, Netanyahu, apparently unsatisfied with the progress made, requested a second, 35-minute meeting following the first hour and a half encounter. Despite the two meetings, the White House issued no formal statement detailing the progress made, which Plante said was “unheard of.”
“It can only mean one thing,” said Plante. “No progress was made.”
On the show, moderator Bob Orr was joined by Haim Malka of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, William Daroff of the Jewish Federations of North America, and Amjad Atallah of the New America Foundation. The panel discussed what Israel’s decision to build new houses in East Jerusalem means for peace in the Middle East. With talks stalled and no sign of progress in the near future, Orr asked Malka how serious this standoff has become.
“There is a lot of tension and a lot of distrust between the Obama administration and Netanyahu government,” said Malka. “That’s extremely dangerous.’ CBS