Prime Minister Netanyahu
Prime Minister Netanyahu Reuters

A leaked exchanged between Nicolas Sarkozy and US president Barack Obama, in which French president allegedly called Israeli Prime Minister "a liar" provoked a media storm. But does Benyamin Netanyahu have a reputaion for duplicity?

With a long political career behind him, Netanyahu has survived many crisis, scandals and administrations. The Israeli politician hard-line policies have often caused frictions with other world leaders, including Tel Aviv's closest ally, the United States.

In the 1990s for example, Clinton famously disagreed with Netanyahu's settlement expansion policies in the occupied territories, with accusations the Israeli leader's move expressed his intention to delay the peace process led by Washington.

In 1998 President Clinton hosted further Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at the Wye River Conference Centre in Maryland, which led to an agreement between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities. However negotiations were hampered by a dispute between Clinton and Netanyahu after the latter lobbied for the released of spy Jonathan Pollard (an American naval intelligence officer who has been serving a life sentence since 1985 for giving classified information to Israel) saying he had previously "promised" to review the case.

In May 1999 Ehud Barak was elected as the Prime Minister in Israel and his close relationship with the Clinton administration stood in sharp contrast to the Clinton/Netanyahu less than friendly relations.

Netanyahu's reputation was also tarnished after allegations that his wife was abusive towards staff members emerged. Similar accusations were also reported in the media in 2010.

In 1998, the Prime Minister also faced allegations of complicity into a botched Israeli assassination attempt on Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, Hamas's founder, in Jordan. The scandal rocked the Israeli-Jordanian relationship but Netanyahu was later on cleared by an official enquiry.

Another scandal followed in 1999 as the politician was also questioned by the police in connection to a probe into corruption during his three-year term as premier which was related to gifts from a government contractor.

As a consequence, Netanyahu retired from political life until 2002, when he returned as foreign minister.

Netanyahu's frosty relationship with American leaders continued with the arrival of Barak Obama at the head of the US government.

The two leaders' tensed relationship culminated with Netanyahu's angry reaction at the US president's endorsement of returning the state to its pre-1967 borders in May 2011. Obama made the move in a speech in Cairo, but Netanyahu undermined the US president complaining that Obama had "pushed Israel too far" and called those lines "indefensible". At the time, the New York time wrote of their relationship "Mr. Netanyahu, as the leader of Israel's conservative Likud Party, was far more comfortable with the Republican Party in the United States than with Mr. Obama, the son of a Muslim man from Kenya whose introduction to the Arab-Israeli conflict was initially framed by discussions with pro-Palestinian academics."

The two men later met for a private two-hour meeting, which commentators said had allowed them to clear the air but the recent comments attributed to Obama prove the relationship is still frosty.

In the wake of the IAEA report on Iran's alleged nuclear bomb aspirations and despite the diplomatically hurtful exchanged between Sarkozy and Obama, the US and Israel will have to present a united front to counter Iran's defiance.