The Obama administration has begun to limit the information it shares with Israel regarding America’s ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran. The reason? White House officials fear that Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, may leak details both for his own political gain and to railroad delicate talks.

Barak Ravid at Haaretz reports:

As a result of the recent tension between the United States and Israel, the White House has begun to limit the scope, quality and depth of the information it shares with Jerusalem about the progress of the talks with Iran about its nuclear program, senior Israeli officials involved in the issue have told Haaretz.

The administration apparently believes that Israel and the U.S. now have a conflict of interests regarding the Iranian issue, the source said. While U.S. President Barack Obama wants to make every effort to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran, Netanyahu is doing everything he can to block one.

One of the main reasons for the decision to limit the information the U.S. shares with Israel on the nuclear talks is a fear of leaks. The Americans fear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make use of the information given to Israel for his own political needs, and will try to undermine the talks between Iran and the big powers.

Now, in a thinly-veiled message directed at Washington, Netanyahu is suggesting exactly what Obama administration officials fear: his leaking of such information for all the world to see. Again, via Barak Ravid:

It’s a suggestion – Israel’s leaking of sensitive details – which Obama officials think has already been taking place. Leaks to U.S.-Iran talks have been finding their way into Israeli media over the past month. These leaks, along with Netanyahu’s planned speech before Congress intended to interfere with delicate nuclear talks, have led the administration to conclude it cannot trust Netanyahu further with comprehensive intelligence sharing.

More significantly, it has apparently led the Obama administration to conclude that, on the matter of nuclear negotiations with Iran, the United States and Israel now have a clear conflict of interest, and that Netanyahu’s consistent efforts to scuttle historic negotiations with Iran are a threat to America’s security.

So long as Netanyahu remains Prime Minister of Israel, these relations are going to continue to deteriorate. Elections in are Israel looming, and Netanyahu’s camp hopes the March 3 speech before Congress will be a photo-op goldmine capable of propelling Netanyahu to victory.

This despite growing opposition to the speech in Israel and the growing number of Democratic members of Congress pledging to boycott the speech. These boycotts, along with the Obama administration’s dialing down of information sharing with Israel, are clear signs of the crumbling relationship between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations.

And that was before Netanyahu suggested he should lead U.S.-Iran negotiations to the world.

-§-

What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, published recently by Oneworld Publications.

Follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.

 


Bookmark and Share