The Israeli media apparently has cause to think so:
Israel’s Channel 1 decided to publish a Hebrew transcript of a portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama’s telephone conversation which took place on Sunday, in which Obama was insistent that Israel unilaterally halt all military activities in the Gaza Strip. As is quite clear by now, Israel rejected, and the bloodshed continued. The transcript, as shown by the Times of Israel was as follows:
The following is an English translation of the Hebrew account of the talk given in the report:
Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.
BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.
One can quickly see why the US would quickly disavow any credibility of this report: after all it wouldn’t look very good for the leader of the free world if the leader of another state, one which on top of it all is reliant on the former for continued military and economic support, flat out rejected what amounted to a demand from the US. As expected the denial was prompt with the US administration calling the quotations “fabrications”, “shocking”, and “disappointing”
It took mere minutes for the National Security Council to deny the transcript was even remotely accurate:
We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality 1/2
— @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014
Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press 2/2
— @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014
Sure enough, it wouldn’t look good if only the US denied so Netanyahu had to step in, which he did:
The Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement that the Channel 1 report is false, using precisely the same words as the White House.
“We have seen these reports, and neither the reports nor the alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality. It’s shocking and disappointing that someone would sink to misrepresenting a private conversation between the President and the Prime Minister in fabrications to the Israeli press,” the PMO says.
Despite the denials, Israel’s Channel 1 refused to retract the leaked statement. Worse, it revealed the source of the leak as a “senior American official.”
Despite rejections by American and Israeli officials, Channel 1?s Or Nahari insists that the transcript leaked to him by a “senior American official” is authentic, but acknowledges that the quotes he published were merely an excerpt from a long conversation.
It’s easy for the administration to prove otherwise. Just release the recording of the conversation. Unless and until they do, they can’t simply claim that it is false and expect anyone to take their word for it. On the one hand, it sounds to me as if a “senior American official” is not at all pleased with Obama backing down to Netanyahu. On the other hand, the language is awfully stilted, which lends credence to the idea that it might be a fake meant to lend cover to Israel backing down sooner rather than later or get back at the Obama administration for Secretary of State Kerry’s performance.
In any event, Israel may as well stop its latest adventure in Gaza as the IDF is already rightly expressing its frustration with Netanyahu’s political dithering. From Debka:
“Senior IDF officer to government: The troops must go forward or quit.”
At this point, they should simply end the military operations. As per 4GW doctrine, they hit too soft and too slow. The IDF is saying go big or go home, but proceeding from this point will likely do more harm than good since Israel has no intention of removing the Palestinians from Gaza and settling it, thereby rendering the entire exercise pointless beyond the short term. At the moment, it appears to have been an exercise chiefly driven by domestic political pressure.
Blowing up a few tunnels and capturing a few rockets wasn’t worth the price of the additional global contempt that resulted from being caught on camera killing women and children. So, it’s just another one step forward, two steps back in the usual Middle East dance.
And as for the State Department’s Jen Psaki saying the leak is a “severe violation of a private discussion”, she might want to recall that she works for an administration that has the NSA spying on every conversation and email exchange in America.