From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister has stopped short of saying that Israel controls the US government. Speaking to the Israeli media this week, Olmert said he had asked President Bush to order Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to abstain in a key UN vote on the Israeli genocidal onslaught in the Gaza Strip.
“She was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she didn’t vote in favor,” said Olmert, bragging about “our clout and influence” in the US .
“We didn’t want her to vote in favor of the resolution. And this is what we eventually got.”
Olmert said he demanded rather aggressively to talk to President Bush and when Bush was on the phone, he told him to order Rice not to vote for the resolution.
“I said ‘get me President Bush on the phone.’ They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia . I said I didn’t care. I need to talk to him now. He got off the podium and spoke to me.
“I told him the US could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution. He (Bush) immediately called the Secretary of State and told her not to vote in favor.”
However, a State Department spokesperson has been quoted as denying Olmert’s claim.
“Mr. Olmert is wrong,” the official said.
“Even if everything had gone according to plan, she would have abstained. That was the plan,” said the official. “Israel does not make US policy.”
In 2001, an acrimonious argument reportedly erupted during the Israeli cabinet
weekly session between then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and then foreign Minister Shimon Peres during which Sharon reportedly yelled at Peres, saying: "Don't worry about American pressure, we control America."
Peres reportedly warned Sharon that refusing to heed incessant American requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger Israeli interests and turn the US against Israel.
At this point, a furious Sharon turned toward Peres, saying:
"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear:
“Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it."
Peres and other cabinet ministers reportedly warned Sharon against saying what he said in public, because "It would cause us a public relations disaster."
Israeli sources denied the story.