Sarkozy Privately Tells Obama Netanyahu is an “Unbearable Liar”; U.S. President Agrees
French President Nicolas Sarkozy had some harsh words for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at last week’s G20 summit in Cannes, France.
According to Reuters, Sarkozy privately told U.S. President Barack Obama that the Israeli leader was “unbearable” and a “liar.”
“I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama, not realizing that the microphones in the room were switched on.
“You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you,” commiserated Obama.
Meanwhile, reporters in another location listened in on the translation of their exchange.
The incident, as telling as it may be, will be seized upon with glee from Gaza to Tehran. But Sarkozy’s frustration is understandable. Efforts at achieving peace between the Israelis and Palestinians have been fraught with crippling complications, most of them the result of Israeli intransigence and blatant violations of international law. Israel claims to want peace, yet continues unabashedly expanding illegal settlements on Palestinian land. This unacceptable state of affairs led to an uncharacteristic chill in U.S.-Israeli relations last year after Netanyahu announced large-scale settlement construction just after Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Israel and pledged America’s undying support for the Jewish state.
But despite biting the hand that feeds it and making a fool out of the United States, President Obama continues to stand firmly behind Israel. In Cannes, he took the opportunity to let Sarkozy know that he did not approve of France’s vote to grant full UNESCO membership to Palestine last month.
“I didn’t appreciate your way of presenting things over the Palestinian membership of UNESCO,” Obama said. “It weakened us. You should have consulted us, but that is now behind us.”
Wary of any moves that give legitimacy to the Palestinians’ statehood bid, Obama told Sarkozy that “you have to pass the message along to the Palestinians that they must stop this immediately,” referring to efforts to gain membership to various United Nations agencies.
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