In the Atlantic Monthly today Jeffrey Goldberg writes about "talking to a senior administration official about Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister2 and leader of its seemingly endless provocations of the Palestinians, many of which have been brutal and bloody. Goldberg is no anti-Israeli writer, by the way, and his article seems to me a model of calm, non-hysterical journalism. He reports that the official said, "'The thing about Bibi is, he's a chickenshit.' "
Goldberg goes on to say that "relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. The relationship between these...dual guarantors of the putatively 'unbreakable' bond between the US and Israel is now the worst it's ever been and stands to get significantly worse after the midterm elections."
Goldberg lays the blame mostly on Netanyahu who apparently ¨plans to speak directly to Congress and the American people should an Iran nuclear deal be reached." The administration expresses a "'red-hot anger at Bibi because of "his settlement policies on the West Bank and building policies in Jerusalem...."
These policies in Jerusalem which have led to Israel building housing for Jews past a previously agreed-to demarcation have resulted in Arab protests.
While I think that you could sense growing administration hostility, this article will surprise people, I think. And I think it's excellent that the administration is no longer willing to stand by while Netanhayu leads Israel into horrendous actions against Palestinians. You should read the whole piece. It appears at this point that the administration views Netanyahu as scared to start a war against Iran and most interested in maintaining his place as prime minister.
In no way would I argue that Netanyahu is a good and enlightened leader, but seeing him "as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his constituency" I think points to a serious weakness in the administration's world view. There is rarely evidence that anyone in the administration sees leaders as having biographies and histories of their own, the understanding of which would vastly help US foreign policy. Does anyone know who Netanyahu's father was? How his father influenced him? How the death of his brother in combat with the Israeli army, how spending his teenage years in white, Jewish suburban Pennsylvania, his college years at MIT and post-college years working with Mitt Romney might have influenced him? I don't have a clue how you open someone like Netanyahu up to different possibilities. He's probably much more intransigent than Obama and Kerry realize. Our administration's cultural deafness continues to be a significant problem.
Anyway, you can read about the Israeli and Netanyahu's response to the US in the (leftish) Israeli newspaper Haaretz here.