In a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally, the White House said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama would not meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a U.S. visit later this month, as tensions escalated over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.
The apparent snub, coupled with Netanyahu's sharpened demands for a tougher U.S. line against Iran, threatened to plunge U.S.-Israeli relations into crisis and add pressure on Obama in the final stretch of a tight presidential election campaign.
An Israeli official, who declined to be identified, said the White House had refused Netanyahu's request to meet Obama when the Israeli leader visits the United States to attend the U.N. General Assembly, telling the Israelis, "The president's schedule will not permit that."
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor denied that Netanyahu's request had been spurned, insisting instead that the two leaders were attending the General Assembly on different days and would not be in New York at the same time.
Netanyahu has had a strained relationship with Obama, but they have met on all but one of his U.S. trips since 2009. The president was on a foreign visit when the prime minister came to the United States in November 2010.
King James Version (KJV)
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Disasters have hit America, when an American President has ruled against Israel.