With U.S.-Israel relations very frayed, Benjamin Netanyahu visited Washington D.C. this week, delivering a speech at the AIPAC conference (where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke) and meeting with President Obama. However, the White House meeting didn't go very well, if you believe the press from Israel, which has been likening it to a "hazing" and an "ambush." According to the Telegraph, Israel's Maariv newspaper wrote, "There is no humiliation exercise that the Americans did not try on the prime minister and his entourage. Bibi received in the White House the treatment reserved for the president of Equatorial Guinea."
Supposedly, behind closed doors, Obama gave Netanyahu a list of 13 demands, including not building settlements in East Jerusalem, the event that sparked the White House's distrust. The Telegraph reports, "When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: 'I'm going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls,'" though Politico says, "Israeli officials let it be known that the talks had broken for Obama to put his daughters to bed, then resumed."
Then, the pair had another meeting; a BBC reporter traveling with Netanyahu wrote, "The following morning, all media engagements for Netanyahu were cancelled. His staff wouldn't say a word, but it was written all over their faces that things were not good for the prime minister." Also there were no photo ops or press releases from the White House: Per NPR, "One [Israeli] commentator described the Obama administration as treating the Israeli leader with 'swinish contempt'."
Veteran U.S. peace negotiator Aaron David Miller told Politico, “What you’re witnessing in the U.S.-Israeli relationship is what happens when neither side has an effective strategy to manage the issues that divide them. If they don’t find one, this is going to look more like a soap opera than serious policy in the next six to eight months.” The Washington Post, which has a story on Netanyahu's bind, spoke to an Israeli peace negotiator who said, Netanyahu "pushed the envelope with Obama" and now that Obama has pushed back, Netanyahu is worried and afraid."
Today, Netanyahu's spokesman said that a "list of understandings" had been reached with Obama, adding "The construction policy will not change, but Israel is prepared to make additional steps in order to advance peace talks." Netanyahu is scheduled to return to the U.S. next month.