Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration late Friday “not to ever second-guess me again" on the subject of dealing with Hamas in the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
According to sources close to the administration who spoke to the Associated Press, Netanyahu’s officials said the prime minister should be “trusted” on the issue of cease-fire talks with the Islamist group Hamas and urged the United States not to enter into such negotiations. Netanyahu added that he “expected” the U.S. to completely support Israel's offensive against Hamas.
The phone call came after a U.S.- and U.N.-brokered 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire collapsed on Friday morning. Israeli and Palestinian delegations were supposed to travel to Cairo for more permanent cease-fire negotiations during that time, but Israel now says it will not participate in the talks and Hamas cannot attend due to "security concerns" in Rafah, the crossing from Egypt to Gaza.
Although Hamas has denied violating the cease-fire, in a press briefing on Friday Obama blamed the militants for breaking the truce. Earlier the White House issued a statement calling Hamas’ actions “barbaric.”
"It's going to be very hard to put a cease-fire back together again if Israelis and the international community can't feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a cease-fire commitment," Obama told reporters.
Obama’s solidarity with the Israeli operation came as quite a change from last week, when he told Israel he wanted an unconditional and immediate cease-fire, despite Netanyahu's desire to finish the operation and destroy the “terror tunnels,” a Hamas-built system of underground passageways to Israel.