May 31st, 2010
11:25 AM ET
5 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. Doyle Wiley, MI

    It some point we (the United States) must take an unbiased look at Israel and take a serious look at whether we should be supporting them.

    May 31, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Ben

    The closer we get to a peace agreement, the more Israel try to blame Palenstine. The peace agreement is the key to unchain America from that region.

    May 31, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. MikeH

    An unprovoked attack in international waters of an unarmed Aid Convoy is what happened.

    Israel's campaign of ethnic cleansing and aparteid against the Palistininans, now added to by an act of piracy and murder on the high seas, deserves the harshest actions possible under international law.

    Mossad agents are posting their lies here in defense of Israel, do not be fooled. Israel is no better than NAZI Germany and deserves world condemnation.

    May 31, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. Eugene Frank MD

    Of course the claim that Israeli soldiers acted disproportionately to the violence they encountered, must await evidence for that conclusion. On the other hand, of course the lack of world-wide condemnation, in disproportionate terms, to the North Korean's killing 46 South Korean sailors, Iran murdering unarmed demonstrators and hanging their leaders, the slaughter in Darfur, the lack of ANY humanitarian aid by the wealthy oil-rich Arab countries to recent natural disasters be it Jamaica, the Caribbean, Iceland or elsewhere, the subjugation of an entire population in Burma, there is no need to await evidence of the obvious lack of any world-wide condemnation is so obvious, there is no ned to await evidence. The Jews have been scapegoats for 5,000 years, the Guinness Book of Records will now have to up-date the # of years.

    May 31, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. jeff jackson, alabama

    Hey !!! The spin doctor is the media,
    including CNN.
    I haven't seen a lot about the activists
    who were on board these boats. Why
    is that being skimmed over ?
    Is it because it may lend credence to
    the attack ?
    Why were more activists being shipped
    to Gaza and what were they going to do
    once they got there ?
    Was Israel supposed to just let them use
    the aid ships as shields to get into
    position to escalate the threat to Isreal's
    security ?
    Spin doctor my butt !

    May 31, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. Abe

    These is not defending themselves. this outright ruthless and unprovoked. I guess these kind of acts bi the Israelis is one of the reasons that there is no Middle East Peace accord. I understand the Palestinians are not angels but it seems that Israelis thinks they can do anything they want. What do you expect when they get the blessing from the US its best allie. I think the US and the world should condemn Israel for there acts and take proper actions. The United Nations Security Council should be bold and decisive and warn Israel for its brutal act. Let's not be wishy -washy when it comes to Israel. I understand they have thet right to survive but for God's sake do not attack an aid ship

    May 31, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. JES

    Good for you between Obama and Clinton I can't blame you.

    May 31, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Get A Grip

    This might just be a good thing. O'blamer will do anything for a party. This could save the taxpayers somewhere around $3.5 million...the estimated amount of taxpayers money O'blamer spent on that dinner with Calderon AND the two of them even got to trash our country and her citizens. Besides, I'm sure Netanyahu has better things to do than deal with O'blamer's rude manners.

    May 31, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Brian L

    Israel continues to show that is they who are leading the U.S. on a dog leash rather than the other way around..... We Americans need to FREE ourselves of their tyranny.

    May 31, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Just Reading

    It is interesting that they claim the Israeli soldiers were attacked. Maybe I am confused. Should passengers/crew on a ship in international waters be allowed to protect itself?

    May 31, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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