Despite an official request from Washington, Israel has decided not to support the reconciliation between the United States and Cuba at this stage, senior officials in Yerushalayim said on Wednesday.
Haaretz reports that the decision stems from Israel’s reluctance to antagonize the reconciliation’s opponents in the U.S. Congress, most of whom are Republicans and allies of Israel.
The Foreign Ministry had received signs that the United States’ relations with Cuba were warming up. However, senior officials said the United States had not briefed Israel on the secret talks it conducted with Cuba in Canada and the Vatican for over a year.
Haaretz reports that the dramatic announcement issued by Washington and Havana a week ago about the historic reconciliation surprised Israel, whose government ministers heard of it first from the media. “They didn’t even give us a few minutes’ notice,” a senior Israeli official said.
Israeli officials were disappointed to have been kept in the dark about the talks, as it had always toed the line on the American embargo on Cuba, which began in 1960. Year after year Israel was about the only state that voted with the United States in the United Nations against resolutions to lift the embargo.
Only two months ago, when the U.S.-Cuba talks were on the verge of an agreement, the Americans still asked Israel to vote with them in the UN General Assembly against removing the embargo. Israel was the only state in the world that supported the Americans in that vote. An Israeli official said the Americans had given no hint of the reconciliation talks with Cuba. Read more at Haaretz.