While everyone’s attention is glued on Russia and whether Obama can successfully launch World War III, things are going from bad to worse when it also comes to US relations with Israel. Recall that here things were already on the verge of disaster after for some reason, Kerry was unleashed to “arrange” a ceasefire with Israel, when in reality the SecState somehow managed to infuriate every single feuding faction (there are a lot of them), Israel included, after Haaretz wrote that “Kerry ruined everything.”
An Egyptian official backed the Israeli government’s reported frustration over Kerry’s attempts to broker a cease-fire, with Egypt believing Kerry’s truce proposals would have only served Hamas’ anti-Israel agenda.
“Kerry acts more like a first-year college student taking a course on the Middle East than a diplomat who knows what’s going on,” said the Egyptian official.
The official confirmed Israel’s version of events as published Sunday in the country’s Haaretz newspaper.
So what happened next? Something rather stunning according to the US State Department, and which according to BBC reporter Paul Danahar, constitutes “a severe violation of a private discussions” – Israel’s Channel 1 was so furious over Obama’s double talk they decided to publish a Hebrew transcript of a portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama’s telephone conversation which took place on Sunday, in which Obama was insistent that Israel unilaterally halt all military activities in the Gaza Strip. As is quite clear by now, Israel rejected, and the bloodshed continued.
The transcript, as shown by the Times of Israel was as follows:
The following is an English translation of the Hebrew account of the talk given in the report:
Barack Obama: I DEMAND that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.
BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.
One can quickly see why the US would be furious and quickly disavow any credibility of this report: after all it wouldn’t look very good for the leader of the free world if the leader of another state, one which on top of it all is reliant on the former for continued military and economic support, flat out rejected what amounted to a demand from the US. As expected the denial was prompt with the US administration calling the quotations “fabrications”, “shocking”, and “disappointing”. Especially after Obama and Kerry publicly pledge full support for Israel.