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Senior U.S. and Israeli officials sharply denounced Tuesday a purported leaked transcript of an allegedly contentious phone call between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a crude fake.
The alleged transcript, which Israel's Channel 1 said it had obtained from an unidentified "senior American official," quotes the two leaders as arguing bitterly in a phone conversation Sunday over Israel's military actions in Gaza. In its report, Channel 1 characterizes Obama as addressing Netanyahu in a "rude, condescending and hostile manner," and Obama as having cut off Netanyahu mid-sentence:
Netanyahu: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks —
Obama: The ball's in Israel's court, and it must end all its military activities.
Netanyahu's office and the office of Obama's National Security Council released identical statements bluntly calling the quotations "fabrications," "shocking" and "disappointing." They repeated the denials in posts on social media. Many commentators also noted that the language in the transcripts is highly stilted and sounds nothing at all like Obama or Netanyahu. Meanwhile, the Times of Israel quoted Channel 1's reporter as insisting that the transcript was authentic, but admitting that "the quotes he published were merely an excerpt from a long conversation."
- Barack Obama Calls Benjamin Netanyahu to Discuss Gaza Crisis
- Benjamin Netanyahu Says Israel's War in Gaza Will Be 'Prolonged'
— M. Alex Johnson and Andrea Mitchell