Prime Minister David Cameron plans to make his first visit as British leader to Israel
and the Palestinian territories this week.
Cameron's Downing Street office says he will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and deliver a speech to the Knesset on Wednesday. He also is scheduled to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
during his two-day trip.
Cameron and Netanyahu. London. (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom)
Cameron initially planned to visit Israel last month but had to cancel the trip because his government faced emergency flooding in parts of England. Cameron did visit Israel as an opposition lawmaker before his 2010 rise to power.
This trip coincides with rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions and as US-brokered peace talks struggle to make progress before an April 29th dead-line.
Last week, Abbas announced he would never recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Meanwhile, Netanyahu's government says such recognition would demonstrate that Abbas' Fatah
movement wants peace.
Netanyahu said any peace deal with the Palestinians would take at least another year to negotiate should both sides accept US-proposed principles to keep talks going.
In an Israel Radio interview broadcast on Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated that the framework agreement that US Secretary of State John Kerry is drafting for a future deal is an "American document of American positions."
"I think (the Kerry document) ... is a possible path toward moving the talks forward. It will take us at least a year to exhaust these negotiations but I can't say that the Palestinians will accept this document, and I also have not seen it yet," he said.
At the end of February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and most of her cabinet visited Israel. Merkel met with Netanyahu, and the two cabinets held a joint meeting in Jerusalem.
Merkel was also honored in a special ceremony at the official residence of President Shimon Peres,
who was to award her the Presidential Medal of Distinction, Israel's highest honor.
The visit ended on an awkward note
after an unfortunately timed photograph of the two heads of state showed Netanyahu pointing at something out of frame, with his finger casting an unfortunate shadow
across the German leader's upper lip, evoking an image of a vile predecessor.