US officials state that relations with Israel’s government are not in crisis, despite claims to the contrary. But they have questioned its commitment to peace for the first time.

For example, government officials said last week that Israel’s decision to hasten the construction of 1,060 housing units in east Jerusalem was not in accord with the government’s expressed aim of a two-state solution with Palestine.

These tensions started with a visit from Israeli Prime Minister Natanyahu to Washington at the beginning of October.  An hour after Obama hosted Natanyahu in the White House, the Press Secretary and State Department spokeswoman issued new criticism, which embarrassed Natanyahu’s staff.  Afterwards, Natanyahu went on about Jerusalem housing and his relationship with the Federal government on US broadcast channels, instead of discussing Iran’s nuclear program as planned.

Three weeks later, Natanyahu’s defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, arrived in Washington to little fanfare, and was publicly rebuffed by the White House and State Department when they refused his request for meetings with senior officials.

But they have seen consequences for their cold shoulder; it was only after his October 1 visit and the snub of his defense minister that Netanyahu decided to continue with the new housing units.

Despite this bump in the road, Obama and Netanyahu are not expected to end their six-year relationship.