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Netanyahu Cancels White House Visit


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Politico:

Netanyahu cancels White House visit


CHICAGO — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled a scheduled meeting with President Barack Obama Tuesday in the wake of Israeli military action to block a flotilla bringing aid to the Gaza Strip. At least 10 people were killed in the attack.

The incident underscores how tenuous and difficult Middle East peace negotiations have been for Obama. It follows a long stretch of mounting tensions between the United States and Israel that had just begun to deescalate as the White House, under fire for taking a hard line with the Israelis, had moved to mend relations.

Obama spoke to Netanyahu by phone between 11 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Eastern on Monday. Obama “said he understood the Prime Minister's decision to return immediately to Israel to deal with today's events. They agreed to reschedule their meeting at the first opportunity,” the White House said in a statement.

“The president expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today's incident, and concern for the wounded, many of whom are being treated in Israeli hospitals,” the statement said. “The president also expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning's tragic events as soon as possible.”

Netanyahu, who was in Canada Monday for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said he gave the military operation his “full backing” and cancelled his meeting with Obama so he could return to Israel to deal with the diplomatic fallout.

Obama, who has been in Chicago for the weekend, was at the gym Monday morning as the Israeli government announced that Netanyahu had cancelled their meeting. Obama went to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill. later Monday morning to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony and deliver remarks. The president is scheduled to return to Washington Monday evening.

The attack follows another event in March that upset U.S.-Israel relations, when Israel officials announced plans to move forward with building new settlements during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden.snip
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pollyannaish
Obama, who has been in Chicago for the weekend, was at the gym Monday morning as the Israeli government announced that Netanyahu had cancelled their meeting.

 

Of course he was.

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