'U.S. furious over Israeli incitement against Obama'
Israeli source: There are people here who are playing with fire by damaging our relationship with Washington.
The U.S. administration is furious over Israeli incitement against President Barack Obama, Democratic congressmen close to Obama told an Israeli source who returned from a visit to Washington this week.
The congressmen even hinted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been personally involved.
The source, who met in Washington with administration officials and members of Congress, told Haaretz he was stunned by the level of anger there over attempts to portray Obama to the American public as an enemy of Israel because of his efforts to restart peace talks and freeze settlement construction.
"There are people here who are playing with fire by damaging our relationship with the U.S.," the source said.
Last month's summit in New York between Obama, Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also reduced Washington's expectations of a speedy resumption of final-status talks between Israel and the PA. While U.S. envoy George Mitchell will meet Netanyahu again Friday, the meeting is not expected to resolve the crisis in Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Jordan warned Washington recently that Israel's settlement policy in East Jerusalem is undermining the stability of Israeli-Jordanian relations.
He also ordered the Jordanian embassy in Israel to submit an official protest to the Foreign Ministry over a plan to build a new Jewish neighborhood on lands belonging to the East Jerusalem village of Walaja.
Finally, he warned against opening the Mughrabi Gate leading to the Temple Mount after the Jewish holidays end next week, and against using planned renovations to change the status quo on the site.
A senior official in Amman told Haaretz this week that the clashes between Israel and the Palestinians in Jerusalem are causing unrest throughout Jordan and encouraging extremists. During Israel's operation in Gaza this January, he said, there were no fewer than 600 anti-Israel demonstrations in Jordan - several times the number registered in the West Bank during those same weeks.
Abdullah himself sought to use his his exclusive interview with Haaretz to rouse Israeli public opinion from its apathy about the freeze in the peace process and the government's support for rightist groups that seek to deepen Jewish control over Jerusalem's Old City and its environs. Amman is concerned that Abbas' growing weakness, along with the lack of progress despite Mitchell's many visits to the region, will increase pressure on the Arab League to suspend the peace initiative it adopted in March 2002.