A meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been canceled after the Israeli leader decided to nix an upcoming trip to the United States, according to statements from both governments.
Israeli news reports on Monday initially claimed that the meeting was canceled after Obama decided not to hold a face-to-face sit-down with the prime minister.
The reports prompted anger from the Obama administration, which immediately claimed that this was not the case. The Israeli prime minister’s office also set the record straight on Tuesday, saying that Netanyahu is unable to travel to Washington, D.C.
The conflicting reports on the matter prompted confusion in both countries and led both administrations to seek to set the record straight on Tuesday.
"The Israeli Government requested a meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu on March 17 or 18," a White House official said in a statement provided to the Washington Free Beacon. "Two weeks ago, the White House offered the Prime Minister a meeting on March 18th. We were looking forward to hosting the bilateral meeting, and we were surprised to first learn via media reports that the prime minister, rather than accept our invitation, opted to cancel his visit."
"Reports that we were not able to accommodate the prime minister's schedule are false," the White House said.
The prime minister’s office offered a similar recounting of events on Tuesday.
During a meeting at the White House on Friday, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer informed the White House that "there is a good chance that the prime minister would not be coming to Washington and that a final decision would be taken on Monday after he had met" with Netanyahu, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office provided to the Free Beacon.
Netanyahu was tentatively scheduled to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference in Washington. Dermer also told AIPAC that Netanyahu was "unlikely" to make an appearance.
"On Monday news reports suggested that the PM would not be traveling to Washington and erroneously stated that the president was unwilling to meet with the PM," the statement said.
Dermer "immediately" moved to correct these reports and "officially informed the administration that the prime minister would not be coming to Washington."
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden, who is in Israel on a visit.