By Daniella Peled
January 14, 2009
It’s never nice when old friends fall out. But it’s hard to imagine a more high-profile spat than that between the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the US.
In an exceptionally rare statement, the White House insisted that Ehud Olmert’s account of a 3am phone call to George Bush to persuade Condoleezza Rice to abstain from a UN ceasefire vote as “100 per cent, totally, completely not true”.
The fact that the US merely abstained, rather than vetoing the resolution, is being seen as a huge failure of Israeli diplomacy. Jerusalem was genuinely stunned by the decision.
Even worse, the story goes that Rice was actually going to support the resolution.
Privately, one former Israeli minister told me he viewed Rice as “a disaster,” blaming her for the fact that Hamas participated in the 2006 Palestinian elections.
“She wanted to show another democratic success in the Arab world,” he said. Hamas, of course, ended up winning.
This broiges comes at a terrible time for Jerusalem. It needs all the friends it can get – especially at the UN.