President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are speaking to each other.
Now it’s time for the next step. Let’s stop squabbling and get back to a public understanding that Israel remains this nation’s most critical Middle East ally and the two heads of government need to return to having each other’s back.
Netanyahu fanned the flames of anger between Washington and Jerusalem when, during the final days of his parliamentary election, he backed off on his previous support for a Palestinian state. Then his Likud Party won control of the Knesset and Bibi said, in effect, “I didn’t really mean what I said about the Palestinian state.”
As Politico reported, Bibi’s backtracking hasn’t exactly been accepted fully by the White House: “The White House has worked to cool down the rhetoric and public tension. But it’s not letting go. When Netanyahu insisted during the congratulatory phone call Obama waited to make that he was already backtracking and they’d get past this, an unimpressed Obama responded by saying, sure, but you said what you said. He and his aides believe it’s now up to Netanyahu to repair a rift that they stress is only about the peace process, not the larger commitment to Israel.”
Everyone on the planet knows that U.S.-Israeli ties are rock-solid, no matter what President Obama is saying these days about the frayed state of bilateral relations. If the shooting were to start, Bibi knows Barack — or whoever succeeds him in January 2017 — will be there.
It’s time to put this nastiness to rest. Make up in public, gentlemen.