State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley publicly praised Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and denied reports in the Israeli press that the administration is angry with him. Privately, however, a number of officials confirmed that the anger at Barak is indeed real.
Reports suggested that Barak had repeatedly promised that he would be able to “nudge” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into a peace deal, and it was suggested that the repeated US blunders on the failed peace process came because the administration assumed Barak was going to convince Netanyahu to make moves that ultimately never came.
With the peace process now entirely dead, it seems that the far right members of the coalition, who condemned the notion of peace on general principle, were the ones who really had Netanyahu’s ear, leaving Barak struggling to explain his failures both to the US and to his own party.
A number of Labor Party leaders have been calling for an immediate meeting to decide on what to do about the end of the peace talks, and a number are calling for the bloc to withdraw from the coalition. Barak, however, has resisted such calls, and insists he won’t allow the party conference to convene until April.
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