It was an ominous signal when the White House didn't provide photos or briefings after the much-anticipated meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week. After Joe Biden was blindsided by a surprise Israeli announcement of a new East Jerusalem housing project a couple of weeks earlier, the Obama administration was clearly sending a message of extreme displeasure. Now we know just how frosty that meeting really was:
[Obama] immediately presented Mr. Netanyahu with a list of 13 demands designed both to the end the feud with his administration and to build Palestinian confidence ahead of the resumption of peace talks. Key among those demands was a previously-made call to halt all new settlement construction in east Jerusalem.
When the Israeli prime minister stalled, Mr Obama rose from his seat declaring: "I'm going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls."
As he left, Mr Netanyahu was told to consider the error of his ways. "I'm still around," Mr Obama is quoted by Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper as having said. "Let me know if there is anything new."
Obama didn't even offer a half-assed, insincere invitation for Netanyahu to join him you know, "I'm going to go eat dinner with my family. You don't want to join, do you? It's probably not your type of food. If you want to just relax in here that's totally fine. You look comfortable." That's when you know relations have really become strained.
Update: Despite reports that Obama left his meeting with Netanyahu to eat dinner with his family, and others that claim Obama left the meeting to put his daughters to bed, the White House points out to us that such scenarios are impossible, since Michelle, Sasha, and Malia Obama were in New York City that night.