Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called recent unflattering Israeli media reports about the Obama administration “unacceptable.”
Netanyahu also said that he and his advisers are working to “reduce the gaps” with the United States on ways to advance the peace process.
“I have recently heard anonymous, unworthy remarks in the media regarding the American administration and the American president. I would like to make it clear: I find these remarks to be unacceptable,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the regular Cabinet meeting. “They are from nobody acting on my behalf. Relations between Israel and the U.S. are those between allies and friends and reflect longstanding tradition. Even when there are differences of opinion, they are differences of opinion among friends and will remain so.”
On his talks last week in Washington with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Netanyahu said they discussed a range of issues, including Iran, and the desire to resume and restart the peace process. The Israeli leader said there were areas in which there was full agreement, as well as disagreement.
“We tried to take—and we took—various steps to reduce the gaps in order to advance the process,” he said. “We are continuing these efforts.”
Netanyahu’s inner Cabinet, known as the Septet, met Saturday night in Jerusalem to formulate a response to U.S. demands in an effort to help restart proximity talks and advance the peace process. The Septet will continue to meet in the coming days on the issue, according to reports.
Meanwhile, top Obama aide David Axelrod on Sunday morning told CNN’s “State of the Union” program that Obama did not snub Netanyahu when the two met in the White House last week.
White House reporters and Israeli columnists have raised the issue after the leaders’ talks were closed to the media and there was no photo-op for media.
“This was not about formalities. This was not about a ceremonial meeting,” Axelrod said. “This was a working meeting. We have a deep, abiding interest in Israel’s security, and we believe the peace process is essential to that and we are doing everything we can to move that process forward.”