Washington, Jerusalem Deny Reports of Harsh Call Between Obama and Netanyahu

White House and Prime Minister's Office say a transcript of a call in which the U.S. president demands Israel immediately cease hostilities in Gaza, reported by Israel's Channel 1, is false.

Screenshot of Channel 1 report of phone call between Obama and Netanyahu.
Screenshot of Channel 1 report of phone call between Obama and Netanyahu.

The U.S. and Israel denied a report on Tuesday of a phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Obama demanded Israeli immediately end its operation in Gaza.

In the transcript that was reported by Israel's Channel 1, Obama said that "the images of destruction in Gaza are distancing the world from Israel's position." When Netanyahu asked what Israel would receive in return, the U.S. president said he believes Hamas would stop firing rockets, according to the transcript reported by Channel 1.

Obama went on to say that within a week of ending the Gaza operation, Qatar and Turkey would begin negotiations with Hamas based on the understandings that followed Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. Obama said Israel would have to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu emphasized that he does not see Qatar or Turkey as fair mediators, and that the cease-fire draft presented by Secretary of State John Kerry last week was unrealistic.

However, both the Prime Minister's Office and President Obama's National Security Council said the report was false. "We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality 1/2," they both tweeted. "Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press 2/2." Both accounts tweeted the same message.

The U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, also tweeted the denial. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes tweeted: This "transcript of POTUS-PM call" report is totally false.