Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Netanyahu Locked in Heated Debate with Obama

by David Bedein

U.S. Order to Wiretap Israeli Embassy Revealed

“Ambush” is the word that was widely used in the Israeli media to describe the reception that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was given at the White House on Tuesday.

The Israeli media cited a number of steps that were taken by the White House in order to “humiliate” the prime minister, who received “the treatment reserved for the president of Equatorial Guinea,” to use one pundit’s description, or that of “the last of the wazirs from Lower Senegal,” as another pundit put it.

President Obama abruptly left Mr. Netanyahu in the middle of their meeting to go eat dinner with his wife and daughters, reportedly urging the prime minister to meet and consult with his aides “so that if he changed his mind he could inform the president right away.”

“I’m still around. Let me know if there is anything new,” the Israeli media quoted the president as saying.

President Obama reportedly made a list of demands from Mr. Netanyahu, which include Israel’s consent to extend the settlement construction freeze beyond its Oct.1 expiration date and to expand the areas of Jerusalem that it annexed after the 1967 war.

The president also reportedly asked to secure Israeli consent to redeploy its military forces in a way that would restore the situation on the ground that existed prior to the Palestinian uprising in September of 2000.

After 25,000 Palestinian terror attacks between 2000 and 2005, which took the lives of 1,370 people, Israel redeployed its forces throughout Arab populated areas in Judea and Samaria, to reduce Arab terror infiltration.

Mr. Obama also reportedly demanded that Israel release of hundreds of Palestinians who have been convicted of murder and attempted murder.

Throughout the visit, Mr. Netanyahu held personal consultations at the Israeli embassy in Washington, and not on the phone, for fear of being wiretapped.

Most recently, an Israeli lawyer in the employ of the U.S. Justice Department, Mr. Shammai Leibovitz, revealed to reporters in Washington that his supervisors asked him to log translate transcripts of Hebrew language wiretapped phone conversations that emanated from the Israeli embassy in Washington.

Mr. Leibowitz refused to abide by this request and was fired from his position after he met with a reporter and has been indicted for sharing classified documents from the Justice Department with the media.

See this report in the Philadelphia Bulletin
See this report at Israel Behind the News

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