PM with George Mitchell in Jerusalem
Photo: Avi Ohayon, GPO

Netanyahu, US attempt to put crisis to bed

Prime minister travels to Washington to speak before AIPAC convention ahead of meeting with Obama

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak Monday before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and say that Jerusalem is Israel's eternal capital.


Netanyahu sent a three-page letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which he explained the reason behind the announcement on 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem, which caused a diplomatic stir between Israel and the US. He was then afforded a meeting with President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the AIPAC convention.


Before the convention the prime minister will meet Vice President Joe Biden, who was in Israel on the day the announcement was made. He will also meet Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.


Sources affiliated with the prime minister say the US took the recent squabble over east Jerusalem too far, and believe that now the Obama administration is attempting to leave the crisis behind.


One official said that although the crisis clarified a rather large difference of opinion between the two countries on the issue of Jerusalem, it is a difference that existed between many of the previous governments on both sides and has never been made so obvious.


"There is no doubt that after Netanyahu's explanations, even the White House sees there is no point in continuing the skirmish between allies when more important issues are at hand," he said.


Defense Minister Ehud Barak is set to travel with the prime minister to Washington to attend some of his meetings with US officials. Sources in Jerusalem say the government is encouraged by the fact that 296 congressmen have signed up to speak at the AIPAC convention.


However one source says that the diplomatic squabble has "created mutual suspicion which is clouding the relationship between the two allies, and inviting the prime minister to meet with the president, his VP and his senior secretaries to cover this up."


פרסום ראשון: 03.22.10, 08:54
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