Nice to be back with you!
Lets break down the situation on the alleged criticism from US President Barak Obama over Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's governance of Israel.
Here we are – about one week before the Israeli elections, and President Obama was quoted by journalist Jeffrey Goldberg – Bloomberg putting this out, that the President privately feels Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are.
The alleged closed-door comments also included the assessments that Mr. Netanyahu is a coward and he is leading Israel to destruction and total isolation that it won't be able to survive in because he (Netanyahu) is the captive of the settlers.
President Obama has not denied the quotes.
Mr. Netanyahu's confidants are spinning this to his favor saying that the Israeli Prime Minister will not compromise in the face of international pressure.
Netanyahu himself indirectly commented on the alleged statements saying that only Israeli citizens will determine their fate.
But there was something else – Israel announced settlement construction approval in two locations – one being in Hebron – a hotbed for conflict with the Palestinians. The US State Department responded with an official condemnation.
This is not a crisis between countries, and many here see it as Obama getting back at Netanyahu for endorsing Mitt Romney during the American elections. But there is a bigger issue here, America gives Israel huge security and civilian aid and uses its veto power in the United Nations Security Council on behalf of Israel.
President Obama is not the only international leader to have things to say about Mr. Netanyahu. Leaders of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom have all had comments on the Israeli Prime Minister leaked out to the press.
Domestically, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and former top security official Yuval Diskin have provided plenty of fodder for the opposition candidates in the run up to next week's elections.
Middle East Correspondent