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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Obama: Don't 'second-guess me again'

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 8:42 p.m.
AFP/Getty Images
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on during a joint press conference with Defense Minister (unseen) at the defense ministry in the coastal city of Tel Aviv on August 2, 2014. Israel will continue its military campaign in the Gaza Strip for as long as needed and with as much force as necessary,Netanyahu said. AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBONGALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — After the quick collapse of the cease-fire in Gaza on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the White House not to force a truce with Palestinian militants on Israel.

Sources familiar with conversations between Netanyahu and senior officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say the Israeli leader advised the Obama administration “not to ever second-guess me again” on the matter. The officials said Netanyahu said he should be “trusted” on the issue and about the unwillingness of Hamas to enter into and follow through on cease-fire talks.

Despite the collapse of the truce, President Obama credited Kerry for his work with the United Nations to forge one. He lamented criticism and “nitpicking” of Kerry's attempts and said the effort would continue.

Kerry negotiated the truce with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon in a marathon session of phone calls over several days while he was in India on an official visit. Kerry had spent much of the past two weeks in Egypt, Israel, the West Bank and France trying to mediate a cease-fire with Qatar and Turkey playing a major role because of their close ties with Hamas.

Those efforts failed with Israel saying it could not trust Hamas and Israelis and American pro-Israel groups complaining that the United States was treating the group as a friend.

Late Thursday, however, Israel accepted Kerry and Ban's latest proposal, despite its reservations. Once the truce was violated, though, Israeli officials hit out at not only Hamas, but the United States and Qatar for its failure.

An Israeli official said the Netanyahu government views Hamas and Qatar as having violated the commitment given to the United States and the United Nations and that it expects the international community to take practical steps as part of a “strong and swift response.”

In a phone call with Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, Netanyahu vented his anger, according to people familiar with the call.

Netanyahu told Shapiro that the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again” and that Washington should trust his judgment on how to deal with Hamas, according to the people.

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