Jimmy Carter was in Israel last week. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu let it be known he wasn't interested in seeing the former president, 90, who he considers hostile to the Jewish state.
Carter responded by saying meeting with Bibi would be "a waste of time" because the Israeli leader "does not now and has never sincerely believed in a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine." Rubbing it in, Carter said Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal is not a terrorist and is "strongly in favor of the peace process."
Israeli media reported that Netanyahu also turned down a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry's right after the Israeli elections. Kerry wanted to come to Israel to discuss the future of the peace process, nuclear negotiations with Iran and other regional issues. He was told the PM was too busy to see him because he was focusing on cobbling together a new governing coalition. But it turns out Bibi wasn't too busy to meet with Congressional Republican leaders, notably Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, plus a parade of mostly Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.
Aides say Netanyahu is still smarting from what he considers a snub by Obama. The PM was reportedly offended that it took Obama two days to call him to congratulate him after his election victory March 17, conveniently forgetting that two days was the same amount of time Bibi waited to call Obama after the 2012 elections.
Maybe they thought that since Bibi had intended to insult Obama by waiting, that perhaps Obama had the same intention.
In any event, the White House was quick to congratulate Netanyahu only hours after announcing the formation of a new government, saying, "The President does look forward to working with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his new government."