Gov't. Notes Declining U.S. Coordination

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli government officials are concerned about the deterioration in cooperation between the Jewish state and the Obama administration.

Since U.S. President Barack Obama took office, there has been a "sharp decline" in coordination on issues of security and state affairs, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

"Obama's people brief their Israeli counterparts in advance much less about security and Middle East policy activities than the Bush administration used to," one Israeli official said, adding that even when provide some advance briefing, they neither consult nor coordinate their statements in advance.

The most recent example is this week's statement by Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller calling on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israelis learned of it via the media.

Neither has Israel been in the loop regarding the Obama administration's activities with the Syrian government, including trips by senior U.S. officials to Damascus.

Israel received only a general advisement about U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross' trip to the Gulf states for talks on Iran, nor did Ross stop in Israel to brief government officials before or after his meetings with Arab leaders.

"The feeling is that the dialogue and coordination with the Arab states and with Europe is today no less important to the U.S., and perhaps more so, than with Israel," the official said.

During the Bush administration, Israeli officials were briefed ahead of time on the former President's announcements and then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's foreign policy statements.

It's a very different relationship with the Obama administration, which Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his ministers have to factor in to the formula.

Source: Haaretz

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