Monday, March 29, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu suffers worst week of his second premiership
Israeli PM under fire from press at home after dispute with US over new settlements in East Jerusalem

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
The Observer, Sunday 28 March 2010

Israel prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu ran into a storm of criticism over his dispute with the White House. Photograph: Cliff Owen/AP

The last week must rank as the worst of Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu's second term as Israeli prime minister. It produced headlines no leader would want to read, even allowing for the sometimes excitable tone of the Israeli press: "Ambush in the White House", "A hazing in stages" and "With his back to the wall."

Netanyahu flew to Washington a week ago hoping to mend fences after an extraordinary rupture in relations but found only a frosty reception. Then Britain expelled an Israeli diplomat from London in anger at the "intolerable" forging of British passports for the hit squad who assassinated a Hamas man in Dubai. Hours later Netanyahu had a low-key meeting with Barack Obama that ended in serious disagreement and without the usual courtesy of a photographed handshake.

Perhaps it was inevitable that an American president who gave such a firm commitment to tackling the Middle East conflict so early in his term would eventually run up against one of the most rightwing coalition governments in Israel's to complete article

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