Netanyahu getting ready
Photo: Flash 90
To meet Obama
Photo: AP

Netanyahu to prioritize Iran issue at Obama meeting

Sources busy consolidating data for prime minister's upcoming visit to Washington say Palestinian issue secondary to threat of nuclear Tehran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing to meet United States leaders and present Israel's security strategy, which addresses several reginoal issues but is dominated by the implications of a nuclear Iran.


Netanyahu, at his May 18 meetings in Washington with US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, intends to prioritize the Iran threat over talks on potential negotiations with Syria or Lebanon and even over the Palestinian issue.


While Netanyahu is expected to discuss Syria and emphasize that Jerusalem is willing to negotiate with Damascus without preconditions, one source said that "the Syrian issue does not appear promising in the short term," explaining that "the Syrians' precondition that Israel withdraw from the Golan will necessitate preconditions on the Israeli side."


Israel's pessimism on the Syrian front is "different than the Palestinian issue, where Israel is planning many things, both in the economic and security sectors," the source said.


Nonetheless, the Palestinian issue also calls up many concerns that Netanyahu intends to present. "Two states for two people is more complicated than the slogan suggests," said one source. "For example, what is to be done with Hamas in Gaza? What is to be done to guarantee Israel's security in the even of a Palestinian state?"


"We need answers on these issues and we hope to get them in coordination with the American government," the source said.


In order to consolidate his position on these various topics, Netanyahu is consulting a narrow forum comprised of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, as well as specific ministers such as Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon and Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor.


Meanwhile, a research team is compiling all of the data. "We're preparing a comprehensive packet dealing with all of the points of all of the issues on the table," said one Jerusalem source.


Prior to the prime minister's visit, President Shimon Peres is scheduled to meet with Obama on Tuesday.


פרסום ראשון: 05.03.09, 09:47
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