Israel’s visiting chief of staff finds doors closed in Obama’s Washington
Monday, March 16, 2009
WASHINGTON Last year, Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi had no problem setting up meetings with top officials in the U.S. government.
On his current trip to Washington, Ashkenazi sought to meet the administration of President Barack Obama, but most officials were unavailable.
Diplomatic sources said Ashkenazi failed to obtain access to any Cabinet member, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The Israeli military chief, who sought to discuss the Iranian nuclear threat, won’t even meet his counterpart, Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“The administration is sending a very clear message to Israel, and this is we want to talk about Palestine and not Iran,” a diplomat who has been following U.S.-Israel relations said.