‘Obama, not PM, blocked 2015 initiative’

SYDNEY – It was the Obama administration, and not Israel, that poured cold water on the idea of a wider regional diplomatic process, following a meeting in Aqaba in early 2016 among Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and US leaders, a senior Israeli diplomatic official said Tuesday.

According to a report Sunday in Haaretz, a meeting among Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian President Fattah Abdel al-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah and former US secretary of state John Kerry took place in late 2015, but did not bear any practical fruit because of Israeli opposition.

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But, according to the senior official, it was US opposition that stymied the process, much as the insistence in incorporating Qatar and Turkey into a cease-fire framework to end Operation Protective Edge in 2014 ended that particular process. The cease-fire went into effect, the official said, only after the US was nudged to the side and an agreement was reached between Israel and Egypt.

According to the official, the Americans wanted to “dictate terms” that were unacceptable to Israel, apparently meaning that Kerry wanted the parameters he has since laid out as the way forward in the diplomatic process to form the core of this agreement.

The source said that those saying Netanyahu torpedoed the process – be they anonymous US officials or Zionist Camp head Issac Herzog – are providing self-serving narratives.

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