May 31st, 2010
11:25 AM ET
4 years ago

Netanyahu cancels upcoming meeting with Obama

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled a visit with Barack Obama.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled a visit with Barack Obama.

(CNN) – (CNN) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled this week's scheduled meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli government officials said Monday. The two leaders were slated to meet Tuesday during a visit by Netanyahu to Washington.

Netanyahu also decided to cut short a visit to Canada and return to Israel, according to an e-mail statement from his media adviser.

Netanyahu's cancellation of the meeting came in the wake of international condemnation of Israel after Israeli soldiers stormed a flotilla of ships carrying aid intended for Palestinians in Gaza, leaving at least nine people dead in the resulting violence.

Israel claimed it was defending itself, with the Israel Defense Forces saying the soldiers' lives were in danger after they were attacked with "severe physical violence, including live fire, weapons, knives and clubs."

Several nations, however, have condemned the military action and called for an investigation.

Obama spoke on the phone with Netanyahu Monday morning, according to a statement from the White House press office. He "said he understood the prime minister's decision to return immediately to Israel to deal with today's events ... (and) agreed to reschedule their meeting at the first opportunity."

Obama "expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today's incident, and concern for the wounded," the statement noted. He "also expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning's tragic events as soon as possible."

Netanyahu and Obama were set to discuss, among other things, the recently completed U.N. conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, according to an earlier statement from the Israeli government.

The final document released by participants in the month-long conference, which ended Friday, called for a 2012 conference of all Middle Eastern states to move forward on a 1995 proposal for a nuclear-free Mideast. The document also called on Israel to sign the treaty and place "all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards."

Israel is not a member of the NPT and has neither confirmed nor denied that it has a nuclear weapons stockpile.

The Israeli government said in a statement the conference's document is "deeply flawed and hypocritical" and said it "ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world." The statement also complained that Israel is singled out in the document and Iran, which is a signatory to the NPT, is not mentioned.

The United States signed onto the document, but Obama National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones said the U.S. government has "serious reservations."


Filed under: Benjamin Netanyahu • Israel • President Obama
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Ralph Malph

    We need to condemn Isreal for its murderous tactics!!!!

    May 31, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Ancient Texan

    Netanyahu should refuse to meet with Obama just as a matter of principle, after the very rude treatment of Netanyahu by the president during the last visit to Washinton. Of coarse there will be criticism of Israel for defending themselves. But those nations are more in tune with Hamas and Hezbollah.

    May 31, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Tony

    What a bunch of liars the Israelis are. How can aid workers attack Commandos. The video doesn't lie Israel.

    May 31, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. billybob 'n NC

    It is timed the U.S. stop pandering Israel. Netanyahu Is a radical hawk and wants nothing but war. There will NEVER be peace as long as he has any level of influence.

    May 31, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. joynnbob

    Lets see what bag of goodies Case in Hawaii gets form the Obamists for clearing the field.

    May 31, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. ajax

    No big deal here.So Obama loses another photo-opt.They wern't going to be having dinner together anyway.

    May 31, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Clay Sikes

    Let me see...these AID workers violated the well known blockade (created as a result of years of historic 'gun and weapons running'), then greeted the IDF with violence coupled and a concerted social media effort to influence the world against Israel's response, even before they ran the blockade. Was this a genuine campaign to bring aid, or a well timed, well planned attempt to influence the world against Israel?

    May 31, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Clay Sikes

    Let me see...these AID workers violated the well know blockade (created as a result of years of historic 'gun and weapons running'); then greeted the IDF with violence coupled with a social media effort to influence the world against Israel's response, even before they ran the blockade. Was this a genuine campaign to bring aid, or a well timed, well planned attempt to influence the world against Israel?

    May 31, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Stewart - Las Vegas

    Okay, here we go again! Isreal attacks aid ships, in international waters, and then tries to spin it.

    "Just how are you protecting your troops"?

    Your "Troops" were in no danger at all, seeing as how the aid ships were in international waters.

    Isreal's "Master of the Universe" attitude needs to change. I really hope the USA does not back you up this time.

    You picked a fight "Again" without provocation. Regional Bullies you are. This time you are on your own.

    The United States owes Isreal nothing.

    May 31, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. JonDie

    Netayahu should be tried, convicted and imprisoned for crimes against humanity along with Kim Jong-il and Ahmadinejad and all three should share the same cell.

    May 31, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. ben san roda

    Israel has the right to protect itself from all kinds of assaults.

    May 31, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Boyan Yurukov

    There were two Bulgarian journalists on board of those vessels. Israeli soldiers simply swashed the humanitarian mission turning it into a bloodshed. Not to mention it all happened in international waters. In times like this I tend to agree with Iran about the double standards in international policy – if it was any other country, this would mean withdrawn diplomats and closed relations for the very least.

    May 31, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. LaChatte

    Obama is irrelevant. Israel will continue to trample the rights of the Palestinian people with impunity as always.

    May 31, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Areebah Shahid

    Israeli claim that the soldiers' lives were threatened in the face of "severe physical violence, including live fire, weapons, knives and clubs", is laughable to say the least! The vessels carried humanitarian aid and had members of civil society, international media and famous writers including Henning Mankell on board. This is hardly a group of violent people who wanted to make a political statement by provoking violence!

    May 31, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Hendrik

    Mr. Netanyahu,

    In my earlier days I used to support everything Israel. Now we find out that Israel is the thug, pretending to be the victim.

    Stay away from our country, you moron.

    May 31, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Vietnam Veteran

    Yes, the spin doctor will have to go back to Israel to some how get their story together and tie it in to Israel Security. Israel continuesly violate the human rights of the Palestinians and anyone who support them with no out cry from the die hard Israel supporters in the US, the only friend and financial supporter the Israels have in the world is the US yet, they continue to abuse this friendship by endangering the security and involving the US in their continous abuse of a whole class of people which have been condem by every country in the world except you know who, under the guise of Israel Security. I wonder when we, Americans are going to wakeup?, we punish our chldren when they do something wrong, we convict and incarcerate in record numbers those who murder and or violate our laws yet dead silence against Israel who do all of the above on almost a daily basis. Wakeup America !! Even through the US short coming in this continous serious violation by Israel, May God continue to bless the USA and our dedicated Veterans.

    May 31, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Alban

    So now Obama has an opening in his "busy calendar" to meet with the Governor of Arizona over the new new immigration law...unless he is afraid to meet with her.

    May 31, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. joec

    Mr. Netanyyahu, the only people you need to answer is the Israeli people. Don't worry about obama or Canada. I dont blame you a bit for not wanting to visit with these Arab sympathizer's that are currently in the U.S. administration. I only wish our potus had the cohones you have to secure our southern border from the scourge that continues to come here uninvited and unwanted. Congratulations on doing the right thing for your country and your citizens. Never let anyone talk you out of giving up your nukes as that is the only thing that is keeping you safe from a full on Muslim attack. May God continue to bless you and you country! Keep Strong!

    May 31, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. manhandler

    Israel has become a criminal terrorist state. It's lobbyists have bought our gutless representatives in congress. Obama plays lip service to getting tough with the Israeli criminals and they just laugh in his face and he does nothing. The Israelis have become the oppressors that they were so victimized by. Heil Netanyahu.

    May 31, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Marry

    With all the understanding for Israel’s need for security – they turned pretty paranoid over the last years. Israel seems to lose their entire cool and the ability to form their future. They just focused on the “dangers” surrounding them and the influence of their religious extremist (yes, those are just as stupid and dangerous as the ones on the other side!)! Because of that they have become what they surely did not want: An unjust society and a suppresser of the “small” people and their neighbors. Sad and tragic for Israel, the Palestinians and the Middle East!

    May 31, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Ralph Malph

    Ancient Texan, you sound like a fool. You would equate politics with a continued loss of lives. I bet you are a birther too. You sound sound like a nut case. These innocent people were delivering supplies. Do you have kids? How would you feel if a son or daughter was killed because they were delivers Supplies to help others carry out day to day living. I bet you live in a house with electricity and plumbing. Get a grip, Fool!

    May 31, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Audrey

    GET REAL. When are we going to declare Israel "a rogue terrorist state". Your blockade against the Palestinians is illegal in the first place and you have no right to check out any ship going to another country, especially in international waters. What you did is piracy and the people on their ship have a right to defend themselves against pirates, even with sticks and knives. You really are working hard at trying to force another world war. Has this got something to do with last week's news that Israel refused to sign on with 189 other countries in the U.N. for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

    May 31, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. Ralph Malph

    Clay Sikes, do you really believe the Isrealis when they said they were met with violence? Do you really think this was a case of risking lives for the sake of publicity? Wow. You are a thinker! Don't be silly and careless with your opinions. Be thoughtful and not be so fast to show your ignorance.

    May 31, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Gerry NH

    President Netantahu should cancel obama's photo op meeting. Our government should be even half as strong on immigration as Israels. Humanitarian aid when did weapons become aid.?

    May 31, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Ralph Malph

    Ben SanRoda, delivering supplies is an assault? What a joker you are.

    May 31, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
1 2 3