In a dramatic development, Israeli cabinet members are warning that US President Barack Obama threatened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US may opt not to oppose future hostile UN Security Council votes, unless Israel accedes to American policy demands, Israel’s NRG News reported on Sunday.
“The prime minister told colleagues in recent days … that his office’s understanding of the issue and the government’s take on it is that the Americans will not cast a veto against a resolution that reaches the Security Council,” Ariel Kahana, diplomatic correspondent for the Makor Rishon and NRG dailies, told The Algemeiner on Monday, quoting ministerial-level sources.
The information was shared at a session of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Party, led by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, and at which party members Uri Ariel and Ze’ev Hever were present, according to Kahana.
The threat, at least as leaked, implies that the United States is prepared to abandon Israel in the dock of the world body, a step that could further destabilize relations between the two allies to an unprecedented degree, Kahana said.
The Palestinians, according to one version, are demanding Israeli pull backs to the pre-67′ war lines by 2016, while another version says the UNSC threat refers to halting any and all Israeli construction beyond those areas.
Palestinian Authority (PA) UN representative Riyad Mansour said on Friday that “The main option is to go with a vote.”
PA officials said a day earlier that they have seven out of a needed nine “yes” votes in the 15-member Security Council, and the resolution can be vetoed by one of the five permanent members – among the the US.
At the October 1 meeting at the White House between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama, the latter noted that “Israel is obviously in a very turbulent neighborhood, and this gives us an opportunity once again to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel, and our ironclad commitment to making sure that Israel is secure.”
In his response, Netanyahu said that he remains “committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples based on mutual recognition and rock solid security arrangements on the ground.”
Kahana, however, pointed to a recent article in The Atlantic by Jeffery Goldberg – who is commonly seen as reflecting the US administration’s views towards Israel – referencing the US pressure, but from the American point of view:
Citing what he called “red-hot” anger by the Obama administration “over Israel’s settlement policies,” and his view that “the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama’s understanding of the Middle East,” Goldberg warned that “Profound changes in the relationship may be coming.”
“This is a precedent and a very dangerous step,” Kahana cautioned about the American threat, and said it was the most chilling thing he’d heard uttered in decades of Israel-US relations.
“Beyond the abandonment of Israel, it also flies in the face of previous agreements with the Americans, including vis a vis the Egyptian peace deal in which the US would hold the line against such maneuvers,” Kahana noted.
“The point is that one can’t trust anything the US says anymore, if the information is accurate,” according to Kahana.
“If the US is able to betray Israel like this – what do other allies and foes think?” Kahana wondered aloud.
And not just the Bayit Yehudi is aware of the threat: “I can tell you with absolute authority that it was said elsewhere, as well — but I can’t reveal the source,” Kahana said.
However, in stark contrast to the hostility emanating from the White House, the US delegation to the UN, led by Samantha Power, is, as far as Kahana can see, working “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Israel according to its representative, Ron Prosor.
As well, Power met two weeks ago with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on his visit to the States and stressed that the US was not planning or even considering such far-reaching moves.
Watch a video of the meeting between Netanyahu and Obama at the White House: