Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu turned down the offer of a meeting with president Barack Obama, prompting a sharp response from the White House, in the latest evidence of the tense relations between the two leaders. The abrupt decision by Netanyahu to cancel a visit to Washington later this month surprised US officials, who said they learned of the cancellation via the media. The White House said Israel had proposed two dates for a meeting between the leaders and the US had offered to meet on one of those days. Sources in Netanyahu’s office briefed that a continued disagreement over the size of a new US defence aid deal was also a factor. The US is offering an increase in military aid to Israel of around $5bn over a decade, while Israel is seeking $10bn to $15bn more.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.