U.S. President Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu over the phone today. The White House reports that they discussed a range of security issues.
For the last several months there have been reports of growing tensions between the United States and Israel over how to deal with Iran. As reported by Yated Ne’eman Israel is pushing the United States to set a “red line” that Iran cannot cross without facing military intervention. The United States in turn is pushing Israel to continue to allow diplomatic options to run their course.
The New York Times reported that on Thursday Netanyahu seemed to attempt to alleviate the conflict slightly in his speech to the United Nations when he said, ““I very much appreciate the president’s position, as does everyone in my country,” a seeming acceptance of the President’s desire to push any military options back as long as possible.
As reported by The Guardian many considered President Obama’s inability to meet with Netanyahu on this trip to be a potential snub due to the ongoing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program. The White House has vigorously denied this fact, “saying the president was not able to meet the Israeli leader in New York because the pair would not be in the city on the same day. It also said Netanyahu did not request a meeting in Washington, ‘nor was a request for a meeting ever denied’.”
It would seem that the call today between the two leaders may have been an attempt to patch up the relationship and solidify their combined commitment to ensuring Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon. In a statement released by the White House today it was reported:
The two leaders discussed a range of security issues, and the President reaffirmed his and our country’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security. The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The Prime Minister welcomed President Obama’s commitment before the United Nations General Assembly to do what we must to achieve that goal. The two leaders took note of the close cooperation and coordination between the Governments of the United States and Israel regarding the threat posed by Iran – its nuclear program, proliferation, and support for terrorism – and agreed to continue their regular consultations on this issue going forward.
It is impossible to tell if the rift between the two heads of state has been completely closed, however, actions by both men over the last several days seems to indicate that they have come to an agreement on how to move forward for the moment.