Netanyahu (R) and Emanuel (Archives)
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO

Netanyahu to visit White House

Israeli officials say prime minister, invited by White House chief of staff during visit in Jerusalem, to visit Washington next Tuesday to focus on 'shared security interests'

President Barack Obama's chief of staff has invited the Israeli prime minister to the White House next week.


Israeli officials say the meeting will take place on Tuesday, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wraps up a previously scheduled visit to Canada.


White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel extended the invitation during a meeting with the Israeli leader in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Emanuel is in the country on a private visit to celebrate his son's Bar Mitzva, a Jewish coming-of-age ritual for 13-year-old boys.


At the end of their meeting Netanyahu and Emanuel made statements but did not take questions from the press. Emanuel noted the warm welcome he received in Israel and joked with Netanyahu about his teenage son.

Emanuel and Netanyahu after their meeting (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)


Emanuel said the White House talks would focus on "shared security interests," a likely reference to the Iranian nuclear issue.


The two leaders are also likely to discuss Israel-Palestinian peace efforts. The sides recently launched US-mediated indirect peace talks.


The meeting will give Obama and Netanyahu a chance to repair a relationship that has been strained since the two men took office last year.


In Washington, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said Wednesday that Obama will also meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "in the near future," but no date has been set.


Strained relationship

Obama gave Netanyahu a cool reception during his last visit to Washington, even skipping the usual photograph session with reporters at the start of their March 23 meeting.


Relations between the US and its top Mideast ally took a hit earlier that month when Israel announced plans to build 1,600 new homes in a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden. The announcement infuriated the US and temporarily derailed plans to restart peace talks under American mediation.


Obama has pressured Netanyahu, who leads a conservative nationalist government, to halt Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem - captured territories that the Palestinians claim for a future state along with the Gaza Strip. 


פרסום ראשון: 05.26.10, 18:17
 new comment
This will delete your current comment