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Bibi-Obama duel continues

US and Israeli experts say that an agreement with Iran is not imminent, yet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on going ahead with his planned Congress speech, while damaging Israel's strategic relations with the United States.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a conference, launching the Likud party's campaign in Russian, at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv February 9, 2014. Israeli officials are considering amending the format of Netanyahu's planned address to the U.S. Congress next month to try to calm some of the partisan furore the Iran-focused speech has provoked. Netanyahu is due to address a joint session of Congress about Iran's nuclear programme on March 3, just two weeks before Israeli elections, fol

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has maneuvered himself into a dangerous trap, just as he always does. If he gets off his high horse now by canceling his appearance before the US Congress, he will become the butt of jokes and an embarrassment in the Israeli political arena. If he insists on going, despite the fervent opposition of just about everyone, he could deal the final blow to his relationship with the Obama administration, which could result in immediate punitive actions. For now, Netanyahu still insists on going, even though one leader of the Zionist Camp, Knesset member Shelly Yachimovich, told me Feb. 7 that if Netanyahu abandons his speech before Congress, her party promises not to attack or mock him for that.

Meanwhile, the conflict between Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama reached Hollywood proportions Feb. 9, when each of the two men addressed the issue publicly at almost the same time. Netanyahu was speaking at an election event for the Likud Party. Obama was giving a news conference in the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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