Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel on Thursday accused the Obama administration of applying a double standard when it comes to Israel.
Ariel, from Bayit Yehudi, was reacting to a Wall Street Journal report claiming that the US had halted a shipment of air-to-ground missiles to Israel in July amid a crisis in Israeli- American relations.
“I don’t accept in any way that President [Barack] Obama can attack in Iraq and harm citizens, women and children, but when it comes to us, it’s not permissible,” he told Israel Radio. “I said in the past and I’ll say again that the Americans don’t understand what is happening in the region – not in Syria, where they don’t intervene in the daily murders; in Iraq, where everything is collapsing; in Egypt; or here.”
Responding to the report that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to bypass the Obama administration and work directly with Israel’s friends in the Pentagon and Congress, Ariel said Netanyahu’s first obligation is to protect his people and “nothing should stop him from that, even if it is difficult and even if it causes conflicts.”
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said he was not troubled by the Obama administration’s behavior, because its time in office is limited and polls show the American people support Israel.
“We have to take into account that in two-and-a-half years, Obama will not sit in the White House and we will remain here with the threats and challenges,” he said.
Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said “the prime minister is acting correctly when he declines to compromise on Israel’s strategic interests, even when it does not please certain figures in the American administration.”
Ministers and MKs on the Left defended Obama and blamed Netanyahu for the deterioration of relations with the American administration.
“There has been a very disturbing trend that we cannot allow to continue,” Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) said. “We cannot allow an asset as important as out relations with the US to be harmed.”
Opposition leader Issac Herzog (Labor) said there is “a complete lack of trust between President Obama and Netanyahu.” Netanyahu’s government was completely “befuddled” when it came to international relations, he said.
Israel does not have to agree with everything that the US does, but it does need to maintain the “vital strategic asset” that is the friendship with America, Herzog said.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said the American decision is a warning sign for the government and demonstrates an further deterioration in the US-Israel relationship.
“The behavior of the government of Israel, especially of its foreign minister [Avigdor Liberman], puts at risk again and again the relations with Israel’s most important strategic ally. Israel must wake up and stop the international trend of its isolation,” he said.
Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich called on Netanyahu to restrain his party’s MKs, who she said were competing over who could insult America better. She called the Likud lawmakers’ criticism irresponsible, stupid and dangerous and said it shows they are disconnected from reality.
Nathan Wise contributed to this report.