Binyamin Netanyahu's efforts to heal rift marred as Barack Obama branded 'disaster for Israel'
Both sides deny snubbing the other in settlement row as insiders launch outspoken press attack on US leader
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 March 2010 19.27 BST
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves the White House following his meeting with US President Barack Obama. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesMore
Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, tried to smooth over a breach in relations with the US today, speaking out against unnamed confidants who described Barack Obama as pro-Palestinian and Israel's "greatest disaster".
Netanyahu made his first public comments after a fraught visit to Washington last week, where he held a long but low-key meeting with Obama that ended with significant disagreement.
Israeli reports said the US was pressing Israel to freeze settlement construction in East Jerusalem and to extend a temporary, partial curb on West Bank settlement building. But so far Netanyahu has shown no sign that he will bow to pressure from Washington. One of his most senior cabinet ministers was reported today as saying the US demands were unacceptable and there would be no compromise.
Special relationship is over, MPs say. Now stop calling us America's poodle
Barack Obama not sentimental about UK and 'sharp elbows' needed to secure British interests
Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 March 2010 22.37 BST
Britain needs to use "sharp elbows" in its dealings with Washington because Barack Obama is "less sentimental" about the historic links between Britain and the United States, a former ambassador to the US has claimed.More
The warning from Sir David Manning, who was Tony Blair's main foreign policy adviser during the Iraq war before serving as ambassador to Washington, was cited by a Commons select committee which called today for a reassessment of Britain's "special relationship" with the US.
Prime ministers of all hues, from Harold Macmillan to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, have fostered the idea that the two largest English-speaking countries enjoy a historic bond which elevates their relationship to a special level.