Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a proposal by US Secretary of State John Kerry to visit Israel following his election win in March, telling him instead to come only after a new government was formed, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 2.
The Prime Minister’s Office did not confirm the report on Sunday evening , and on Monday, the US State Department rejected it outright.
“This report is categorically false,” State Department acting spokeswoman Marie Harf told The Jerusalem Post in an e-mail.
“We’ve always said Secretary Kerry would only visit Israel after a new government is formed, and he’s repeatedly conveyed that directly to the Israeli government.”
Relations between Netanyahu and the administration of US President Barack Obama have been tense over the last few months.
On Election Day, Netanyahu angered the White House when he warned the Israeli public to go out and vote because “Arab voters are going en masse to the polls.”
In addition, the White House said following Netanyahu’s election win that it would reevaluate its policy on the Middle East peace process following a remark that the prime minister made during his campaign that a Palestinian state would not emerge under his tenure.
At the time, the White House said that the remarks called into question Netanyahu’s commitment to the pursuit of peace and have forced the US government to reassess the government’s stance.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, Netanyahu has been the most vocal critic of the framework deal reached between the Islamic Republic and the US along with other world powers.