Gates with Netanyahu - AP - March 25, 2011
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference in Caesarea on March 25, 2011. Photo by AP
Text size

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “ungrateful” toward the United States, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who left his post in July of this year, claimed during a closed meeting with senior American government officials.

The news came to light after journalist Jeffery Goldberg reported in a blog post that the meeting took place a short time before Gates’ departure. According to the post, Gates listed off the steps that the U.S. government took to ensure Israel’s security, stating that the U.S. “received nothing” in return.

According to Goldberg, several senior government officials claim Gates told President Obama that not only is “Netanyahu ungrateful, but also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank."

The former secretary of defense was also reported to have commented on a 2010 diplomatic incident, surrounding Israel's approval of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem during an official visit by U.S Vice President Joe Biden.

According to Goldberg's report, Gates expressed great frustration at the incident, saying that if he had had been Biden he would have cut his Israel visit short as soon as the housing units were approved, adding that he would have told "the prime minister to call Obama when he was serious about negotiations."

The report was not the first instance of an alleged mistrust of Netanyahu by global leaders. Earlier in the year former Downing Street communications chief Alistair Campbell indicated that former Prime Minister Tony Blair felt that the Israeli PM was untrustworthy. In the second volume of his diaries, wrote candidly of the British view of then, and current, Netanyahu, saying Foreign Office officials had nicknamed Netanyahu "the armor-plated bullshitter."

Campbell goes on to say that this view was not held exclusively by U.K. officials, adding that former premier, and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Blair during a meeting that he was "was pessimistic because Bibi was a total bullshitter."