Monday, November 9, 2015

Israel's Prime Minister To Review His Appointments
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"The challenges that face us are many and include expanding public diplomacy activity in the new media in the global arena, as well as providing Israeli citizens with more effective access to the work of the Prime Minister and the government".

A phone call and text message to Baratz from Reuters, requesting comment, went unanswered.

In March, Obama told Netanyahu that the USA was "reassessing" the U.S.-Israel relationship after Netanyahu said during his re-election campaign that there would be no Palestinian state on his watch.

Within hours of Mr Baratz's appointment on Wednesday, Israeli media outlets found a clutch of cuttings, headline-grabbing quotes on Facebook and articles he had penned on news websites. It is also on top of the United States war-fighting material held in Israel, which is valued at $1.2 billion. Mr Netanyahu said that the posts were "unworthy and do not represent my position or government policy". "We agreed to meet upon my return to Israel", said Netanyahu, who was preparing to depart for Washington for his first meeting with Obama in over a year. Netanyahu also distanced himself from Ran Baratz's remarks, a few of them posted on his Facebook page, saying he hadn't been aware of them before the nomination. But, he said, the United States would continue to look for ways to bolster already close military and intelligence cooperation to ensure Israel's security.

State Department Spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that Mr Baratz's comments about the president and the secretary were "troubling and offensive..."

Officials blamed increasing violence by Palestinians against Israeli leaders as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's declaration this fall that the 20-year-old Oslo peace accords are longer functional because Israel has violated them. Israel denies the allegations.

Last month he wrote a post on Facebook after it emerged that President Reuven Rivlin flew economy class on his flight home from a state visit to the Czech Republic. Malley said the president would ask "how does the prime minister see things going forward" and hear his ideas of "what can be done in the absence of negotiations".

Mr Baratz apologised and said he "deeply regretted his hurtful remarks" which were "written without thinking". "They'll return him the next day with a request for negotiating their return to Iraq, if only we take him back", Baratz wrote. He said he would behave differently in his official role and would try to clarify things with Netanyahu.

During that visit, Netanyahu will meet with Obama at the White House in an effort to fix damaged relations between the two leaders which may be further challenged by Baratz's comments.

The person tapped to be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "media czar" has in the past publicly called President Barack Obama a "pro-Arab, anti-Israel president" who has displayed "modern anti-Semitism". The appointment was derided by commentators and questioned even by Netanyahu's allies.

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