Netanyahu left to stew as meal is made of impasse
BENJAMIN Netanyahu was left to stew in a White House meeting room for more than an hour after President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of tense talks to have supper with his family, it emerged yesterday.
The Israeli prime minister arrived at the White House on Tuesday, confident that the worst of the crisis in his country's relationship with the United States was over. During the previous two days, he had been feted by senior Republicans and greeted warmly by members of Congress. But Mr Obama was less inclined to be so conciliatory. As Mr Netanyahu persisted in resisting his demands to halt settler building in east Jerusalem, Mr Obama rose, saying: "I'm going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls." Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. "I'm still around," Israel's 'Yediot Ahronot' newspaper quoted Mr Obama as saying. "Let me know if there's anything new."
For over an hour, Mr Netanyahu and his aides stayed in the Roosevelt Room on the first floor of the White House to consider a response to the president's demands.
Although the two men briefly met again later in the evening, it appeared that they failed to break the impasse.
It is not the first time Mr Netanyahu has been involved in a mealtime snub, although he is more used to delivering rather than receiving them.
In 1998, during his first term as Israeli prime minister, he cancelled a dinner he was due to give Robin Cook, then UK foreign secretary.
Mr Cook had angered his host after he briefly visited a new Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem with a Palestinian official. (©Daily Telegraph, London)