The Israeli Ambassador took the opportunity at today’s annual AIPAC policy conference to take a major shot at former President Barack Obama. The rebuke came before a packed house at the meeting. Ambassador Ron Dermer told the assembled group that President Trump’s administration has brought a level of closeness between the two allies that has eluded his predecessors.“For the first time in many years, perhaps even many decades, there is no daylight between our two governments,” he said.
The ambassador went on to say at the opening session that there was a “meeting of the minds” between Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump during the prime minister’s meeting in Washington last month. Peace in the Middle East is now “a real prospect.” Dermer is famous for the acrimonious relationship which existed between his office and the Obama administration. It was a relationship which hit a new low during the intense and highly public dispute between Netanyahu’s government and Washington over the Iran nuclear deal.
It was at that time that the term “daylight” was first used to describe the lack of closeness in the relationship between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration. Obama White House officials, including the president claimed there was “no daylight” between the two administrations, particularly on dealing with Iran. But that was not how most of the world, and much of the U.S. and Israel saw the relationship. In fact, accused Obama of trying to put distance between the two governments, citing a statement he made to Jewish leaders in July 2009.
“Look at the past eight years, During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that? When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states,” Obama said.
But in all this happiness, there is one little snag, Netanyahu and Trump adviser Jason Greenblatt had two meetings over the issue of new settlements earlier this month and discussions are still ongoing. Netanyahu has denied an Israeli report that the two were close to reaching an agreement on curbing construction of new settlements.
Netanyahu told his ministers, “In the past few days there have been reports in the media about alleged agreements in the talks we are holding with the White House regarding settlement construction. There are many incorrect things in these reports; I will not go into details. Our talks with the White House are continuing and I hope they will end soon.”
While Trump publicly asked him to “hold back on settlements for a little bit.” The settlements, he said, “don’t help the process. I can say that.”
“There is so much land left,” he added. “And every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left. But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options we’ll see. But no, I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.”