'US ignored Israel's warnings of radicalising trends in Arab'

'US ignored Israel's warnings of radicalising trends in Arab'

In spite of Israel's repeated warnings to the United States about "radicalising trends" in post-revolution Arab states the US "preferred to find excuses" and did not pay heed to the problem, top Israeli diplomatic sources told a local daily.

The United States was "burying its head in the sand" for months before the recent attacks on American embassies in North African states, one of the sources said.

Senior Israeli Foreign Ministry officials told daily 'Ha'aretz' that during their conversations with their American counterparts they have focused on what Jerusalem terms "radicalising trends against not only Israel but also against the United States and the West in general."

One of the most recent such meetings took place a week ago, during a visit to Jerusalem by the acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, A Elizabeth Jones, the daily reported.

"The Americans were constantly trying to supply explanations and excuses for events in the post-revolution Arab states, and simply ignored the problems," a senior Israeli official was quoted as saying.

"In practice the administration's ability to affect events in the Arab world has decreased immensely," he added.

The Barack Obama administration, which since the beginning of the Arab Spring has aided, directly or indirectly, the forces that brought down the dictatorial regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Lybia, now finds itself in a position of "helplessness", the daily reported.

The attack on the consulate in Benghazi, in which the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed, and the storming of the US embassies in Tunis, Sanaa and Cairo, proved the great hostility towards the United States and the unwillingness of these countries' new leaders to challenge domestic public opinion, it stressed.

The Foreign Ministry official presented the example of Tunisia, which was expected to be moderate despite the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood, to drive home his point.

Several weeks ago Israel's ambassador to Poland, Zvi Rav-Ner, reported that the Tunisian ambassador to Poland had been called back to Tunisia unexpectedly, ending her posting there.

Rav-Ner in his report added that all five women serving as ambassadors of Tunisia in various countries had been recalled at around the same time.

The Israel embassy in Washington was reportedly instructed to inform about the matter to the State Department and determine whether it was aware of the development.

US officials reported several days later that the measure was a technical only, involving the replacement of all ambassadors from the previous regime, and had nothing to do with gender discrimination.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry reportedly conducted its own examination and determined that many male ambassadors from the previous regime had not been recalled, he said.

"We knew what was happening, but the Americans preferred to find excuses," the senior official was quoted as saying.

The unnamed official cited yet another example that yielded similar result when Israeli efforts to prevent a clause being added to the new Tunisian constitution outlawing normalisation of contacts with Israel fell on deaf ears.

The Foreign Ministry asked the United States to intervene, but was not satisfied by the response.

"They told us, 'Don't worry, it's going to be all right, the clause will be left out,' but the clause is still in there," the official said.

Israel has also drawn American attention to the fact that for the past year Egypt has been dragging its feet over talks on reopening the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

US appeals have failed to speed things up, the report noted.

Senior Foreign Ministry officials said that the latest riots at the US embassy in Cairo, and the weak condemnation of President Mohammad Morsi, demonstrated that despite its massive military and economic aid to Egypt, the United States had failed to achieve any real influence over the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Only now, after what happened to their embassies, the Americans are beginning to understand the situation," the Israeli official emphasised.

"To hear the President of the United States declare that Egypt isn't an ally, but also isn't the enemy - that's a real earthquake," he said.

Meanwhile, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a new public relations offensive in the United States.

He has recorded interviews that will be broadcast today on important Sunday morning political shows on CNN and NBC, all in an effort to persuade the American public that setting "red lines" for Iran will cool Tehran's enthusiasm for its nuclear programme and reduce the likelihood of a wider military confrontation. Netanyahu is expected to point to the violent demonstrations at US embassies around the world and to say, "Think what would happen if these people had nuclear weapons," the daily reported.