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US-Israeli relations hit a new low after eavesdropping allegations

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by Joseph Earnest March 24, 2015


Newscast Media WASHINGTON D.C.Revelations that Israel may have leaked sensitive information to Republicans about the American negotiations with Iran have further damaged what some already perceived as the worst ever relations between the two allies.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Israel eavesdropped on closed-door conversations and gathered information from contacts in Europe related to negotiations led by the United States over Iran's nuclear program. A senior US official told the Journal that Israel had leaked this information to Congress Republicans to help them undermine negotiations.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon categorically denied the claims Tuesday.

"There is no such thing as Israel spying on the United States," Yaalon said to Israeli Channel 2 TV News. "It seems someone has an interest in stirring up conflict or adding more bad spirit to the relationship."

The accusations of spying are the latest in a string of acrimonious incidents between the two allies. A senior official in the Israeli government said the key issue was Iran. US President Barack Obama began secretly negotiating with Iran in 2012 in an attempt to impose strict supervision on its nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes these negotiations are too lenient on Iran and leave Israel open to attack.

Eytan Gilboa, an expert on US-Israel relations at Bar-Ilan University, said he could not remember a worse moment in the two countries' diplomatic history.

"Obama has given up on Netanyahu and Netanyahu has given up on Obama," Gilboa said in a phone interview. He laid the blame on Obama for focusing on Netanyahu's comments on Palestinian statehood rather than taking seriously Israel's opposition to the Iran deal, but said the result was "a widening gap between Republican and Democratic support for Israel."

Gilboa said the risk to Israel is reduced cooperation with the US, although he said the generous American aid to Israel, which amounts to $3 billion a year, is unlikely to stop as it is controlled by Congress.       Add Comments>>


Source: Deutsche Welle











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