by Peter Grady –
President Barack Obama has refused to have a meeting with Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu later this month because he is reportedly too busy with his re-election campaign which includes a campaign stop in Colorado this week.
Bloomberg.com reported that an Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said Israel asked the White House over two weeks ago requesting a face to face meeting between Netanyahu and Obama when the Israeli Prime Minister comes to America to address the United Nations this month.
The official said they were told Obama’s schedule was simply too busy to meet with the Israeli Prime Minister because he was “in the middle of campaigning for a second term in the Nov. 6 election.”
Reuters also reported the issue saying an Israeli official said they asked the White House and “the White House has got back to us and said it appears a meeting is not possible. It said that the president’s schedule will not permit that.”
The White House responded by szying the Israeli officials were lying and that no such meeting was ever requested.
“Contrary to previous press reports, there was never any request for a meeting between the Prime Minister and the President in Washington, nor was this request ever denied. They’re simply not in the city at the same time,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told reporters.
While the President’s “scheduling conflicts” will not allow him to be ”in the same city at the same time” as Netanyahu, the president has been conducting a rigorous campaign schedule including a trip to Lasx Vegas and a campaign stop in Golden this Thursday, Sept. 13. The county is considered an intense battleground and has already been visited by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
The administartion has also announced the president has time to appear on The Late Show with David Letterman during a trip to New York next week.
The apparent snub comes as relations between the two countries have increasingly become strained over the issue of attempts by Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.
Last November not realizing he was being taped, the president complained about having to work with Netanyahu. French president Nicolas Sarkozy told Obama “I can’t bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar.”
Obama essentially told Sarkozy he agreed with him saying, “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.”
The remarks were initially ignored by the mainstream media, until a French media outlet broke the story several days after the president made the statement.
In 2010, Obama left Netanyahu waiting while he went to the White House residence for dinner with his family. Many Israelis and Americans perceived the incident as a snub.
Last year Obama called for Israel to use the 1967 borders, which existed prior to the Arab-Israeli war as the starting point for negotiations regarding borders for the Jewish state.
The administration has also opposed the government of Israel conducting new construction projects in Jerusalem, because the Palestinians want the city for their capitol.
The government of Iran has frequently indicated its intentions to destroy Israel and recently held a meeting with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood officials on the issue.
The U.S. response has primarily been one of sanctions and a continuing dialogue with Iran on the issue. To date there is no indication the course of action has led the Iranian government to slow down their attempts to become a nuclear power.
Netanyahu along with Defense Minister Ehud Barak have indicated they are considering a strike against the country’s nuclear facilities. As the negotiations are showing signs of stalling the Israeli government has stepped up its warnings.
“The world tells Israel, wait, there’s still time, and I say, ‘Wait for what, wait until when?’” Netanyahu said. “Those in the international community who refuse to put a red line before Iran don’t have the moral right to place a red light before Israel.”
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