Freshly retired US defense secretary Robert Gates was highly critical of Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, calling him an ungrateful ally and blaming him for
diplomatically isolating Israel and hurting American interests,
a Bloomberg column revealed Tuesday.
The criticism, reported in a piece by Jeffrey Goldberg, apparently peaked after Netanyahu met with US President Barack Obama
last May, lecturing him in front of the cameras on the Israeli security situation with a
level of "impudence" that shocked many in the White House, including
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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According to Goldberg, Gates later told the president that despite the many steps the US had taken to guarantee Israel's
security - assistance with weapons, defense systems and intelligence sharing, it had received nothing in return, "particularly in regards to the peace
Netanyahu, Gates told Obama, was "not only ungrateful, but also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank."
Gates's statments, Goldberg wrote, "articulated bluntly" what many in the administration believe
The column added that Netanyahu had peeved
Gates before, lecturing him during a meeting in March on the dangers posed to
Israel by US arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Gates reminded him then, Goldberg stated, that the sales were carried out after consultation with Israel and pro-Israel members of
The criticism of Netanyahu, and growing resentment of him in the White
House, came just weeks before the US may have to come to Israel's aid once
more, using its veto at the UN Security Council when the Palestinian
Authority petitions for statehood recognition at the international body.
In light of this, the column warned, the US may oppose the Palestinian
statehood bid "in spite of Netanyahu, [and] not to help him."
Meanwhile, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, who gave his first
public address in Israel Monday since his arrival two months ago, emphasized America’s
ongoing commitment to Israel’s security and said that Obama
had expanded that commitment to an unprecedented level.
aid to Israel, excluding expenditure on the Iron Dome battery, this year
amounted to $3 billion and will increase by $1.1 billion in the coming year, he
said. He noted that Obama had pushed this through despite America’s economic
Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.