Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was accused by political rivals yesterday of damaging Israel’s critical relationship with its American ally, a day after it emerged that President Barack Obama will not meet the Israeli leader when he pays a controversial visit to Washington just before Israel’s general election.
“No doubt his behaviour has caused damage,” said Nachman Shai, a legislator for the Labour Party, which is challenging Mr Netanyahu’s Likud in elections in March. “Relations between Obama and Netanyahu are irreparable,” he added. “I hope this won’t damage things totally but it looks like we now have an ugly period of coldness between leaders and states.”
The apparent low point comes as Israel is hoping for American support to fight off Palestinian efforts to prosecute Israelis for alleged war crimes in the International Criminal Court, Mr Shai said. Israel would also want an American veto in the event of the expected Palestinian revival of a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank within three years.
Unrest in Jerusalem
Unrest in Jerusalem
A masked Palestinian celebrates the attack on the Jerusalem synagogue holding a poster of the attackers,Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, during a rally in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
A masked Palestinian youth wearing a Hamas headband uses a sling-shot to throw back a tear gas canister towards Israeli forces during clashes outside the Israeli-run Ofer military prison following the deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue
Masked Palestinians hold axes and a gun as they celebrate with others an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
Israeli Zaka emergency services volunteers carry the body of one of the two Palestinian assailants who were shot dead while attacking worshippers at a synagogue to an ambulance in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem
An Ultra-orthodox jewish man prays at the scene of an attack, by two Palestinians, on a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem
An Israeli woman cries on a veranda next to a synagogue where a suspected Palestinian attack took place in Jerusalem
An Israeli police officer gestures as he holds a weapon near the scene of an attack at a Jerusalem synagogue
Israeli Zaka emergency services volunteers carry the body of an assailant who was shot dead while attacking a synagogue
Israeli emergency services personnel clean the sidewalk at the scene of an attack, by two Palestinians, on Israeli worshippers at a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem
Israeli security personnel run next to the synagogue in Har Nof, where a suspected Palestinian attack took place
A Palestinian activist knocks a hole through the wall near East Jerusalem
A masked Palestinian youth burns a tire near Israel's controversial barrier that separates the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem
A Palestinian protester throws a stone at Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank town of Abu Dis near Jerusalem
Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni in the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem . A Palestinian bus driver was found hanged in his vehicle in Jerusalem, sparking clashes, after what Israel said was an apparent suicide but a colleague said looked like murder
A Palestinian protester tries to hammer a hole through Israel's controversial barrier that separates the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem
Palestinian protesters climb a ladder at Israel's controversial barrier that separates the West Bank town of Abu Dis from Jerusalem
Israeli border policeman arrested over shooting of Palestinian boy during West Bank protests
Masked Palestinian youths clash with Israeli security forces in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Tor
Israeli fire fighters inspect the scene of an attack in Jerusalem. A Palestinian man rammed his car into a crowded train platform in east Jerusalem and then attacked people with an iron bar, killing one person and injuring 13 in what authorities called a terror attack before he was shot dead by the police. The militant Islamic group Hamas took responsibility for the attack
Israeli police officers walk at the scene of an attack in Jerusalem
Israeli rescue workers and paramedics carry an injured man to an ambulance after a Palestinian man, Ibrahim al-Akri, was shot by Israeli police officers after he drove into a crowd of people
Ultra-Orthodox Jews look on from behind a police line at the scene of a killing when a Palestinian man drove a van into a crowd of police and civilians along the tracks of the Light Rail trolley system in East Jerusalem
According to media reports, Mr Netanyahu’s envoy in Washington, Ron Dermer, and the US House Speaker, John Boehner, kept the Obama administration in the dark about arrangements for the Israeli leader’s visit to address a joint session of Congress.
Mr Netanyahu is expected to urge legislators to pass fresh sanctions against Iran, a stance the President views as torpedoing any chances of reaching a negotiated settlement over Iran’s nuclear weapons. Mr Obama has vowed to veto any new sanctions.
“There are things you simply don’t do,” a senior US official was quoted as saying in the Haaretz newspaper yesterday. “He spat in our face publicly and that is no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that Obama has a year and a half left in his presidency and that there will be a price.’’
Mr Netanyahu received potentially bad news on another electoral front yesterday, as traditionally fractious Arab parties came together to form a united list, a move that they hope will increase voter turnout among Israel’s Arab minority for the elections, which are expected to be closely fought.
The Arab parties have never been included in a coalition but in the early 1990s they provided Labour Party Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with a blocking majority during no- confidence votes.
The new list comprising the Balad, Raam, Ta’al and Hadash parties came about because of necessity: new legislation raised the minimum threshold for entering the Knesset from 2 per cent to 3.25 per cent. Balad, which was doing poorly in the polls, thus faced the prospect of becoming extinct if it did not join.
Balad legislator Haneen Zoabi said it was “a historic achievement”. “Now it is possible to speak of Arab political power in the Knesset.”Reuse content