"Israeli press reports said that Netanyahu was unprepared for the chilly reception he got at the White House. He was hoping to mend ties that have been strained in recent weeks by a series of announcements of new Jewish building in East Jerusalem. But instead the Israeli press said Netanyahu was "ambushed," detailing how at one point Obama cut the first meeting with Netanyahu short and left to go have dinner without inviting the Israeli premier.
There were, uncharacteristically for a visit of a key ally, no photo opportunities and no statements to the press. One commentator described the Obama administration as treating the Israeli leader with "swinish contempt."
Ehud Yari, an international fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told reporters in a conference call Thursday that the Israeli team was shocked by its treatment at the White House.
"The general sense is that the prime minister was sorely humiliated by President Obama," Yari said. "There is quite a degree of amazement to the way he was treated."
A Tense Relationship
Analysts in Israel say the personal relationship between the two leaders is now a difficult one: neither trusts the other.
Menachem Hofnung, who teaches at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, says Netanyahu is in a difficult position. His largely right-wing coalition won't let him make concessions on issues like Jerusalem.
"It seems Netanyahu will have to make a choice, either, to go on with his current coalition which means break with the United States. Or trying to heal the gap with the United States and break up the coalition and form another one that is more hospitable to the peace process," Hofnung said. "He is going to face a crisis either internal or external. My hunch is that he will choose the external conflict."
Hofnung says that means the rift with the United States won't be healed anytime soon.