On a warm day in Washington this fall, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu huddled in the White House, each flanked by a handful of top advisers, including Vice President Joe Biden. Just three days earlier, Obama had held an historic phone call with Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani, the leader of a country Israel sees as a threat to its very existence.
In the confines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Sept. 30, just after the high Jewish holidays, Obama revealed to Netanyahu that his administration had been engaged in secret, high-level diplomatic talks with the mortal enemy of the Jewish state. Netanyahu’s immediate public reaction betrayed no surprise, but a day later he launched a full-frontal attack on Iran, delivering a blistering speech at the U.N. General Assembly in which he said the Islamic republic was bent on Israel’s destruction and accused Rouhani of being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
The White House meeting had been scheduled for about an hour, but continued on for 30 more minutes, leaving American and Israeli journalists crowded onto the portico outside the Oval Office to speculate about the discussions underway inside. The two men had and still have an uneasy relationship, and each blames the other for inconclusive results in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Yet In statements after the meeting, both leaders tried to display unity rather than airing their differences on Iran in public.
Read the rest of the full report here.