Benjamin Netanyahu has decided that he’s been treated like trailer trash long enough:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled a planned trip to Washington next week to take part in President Barack Obama’s 47-country nuclear security summit conference.
The ostensible reason for the very public cancellation?
He made the decision after learning that Egypt and Turkey intended to raise the issue of Israel’s presumed nuclear arsenal at the conference, a senior government official said on Friday.
Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East but has never confirmed or denied that it possesses atomic weapons. It has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
That’s the official reason – and there may be a grain of truth to it. It’s Obama’s summit. But given the treatment Obama has given Israel lately, I’m sure Netanyahu has no illusions about his previously staunch US ally stepping in and stopping any such attempted hijacking of the summit by Egypt and Turkey. Of course, Israel wouldn’t be the only nation there which hasn’t signed the NPT (India and Pakistan).
Probably more importantly though, the summit and nuclear non-proliferation are a pet project of Obama’s. Israel is choosing to display its displeasure with Obama and the way it has been treated recently (see visa story below as well) by visibly and publicly downgrading their level of participation to Deputy Prime Minister level. Or at least that’s the way I see it.
In hardball, both sides get a chance on the mound.