Benjamin Netanyahu to visit President Obama

Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the World Economic Forum.

Benjamin Netanyahu will be meeting with President Obama at the White House today. Image from Flickr.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House this evening. The meeting is closed to reporters, but most reports indicate that the talks are most likely going to be focused on the recent Israeli announcements that an East Jerusalem settlement has been approved, pending the developer’s secured loans. Some politicians are also hoping that the meeting between Netanyahu and Obama will include discussions of the diplomat representing Israel being kicked out of Britain.

Netanyahu and Obama to discuss peace talks

One of the major topics on the docket for the meeting between Netanyahu and Obama will be the restarting of indirect peace talks with Israel and Palestine. Over the last few decades, the United States has mediated several peace talks between Israel and Palestine, though tensions in the region remain high. Israel, through their Prime Minister Netanyahu, has recently announced plans to allow 1,600 new settler homes in East Jerusalem. The United States, through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has condemned the plans, and tensions between Netanyahu and Obama have since been very high.

Netanyahu takes a stand on Jerusalem

Jersulem has long been a disputed district in the Israel-Palestine conflict. In a speech to Israel’s supporters in Washington, D.C., given before he met with Obama, Netanyahu stated that “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It’s our capital.” He also very carefully outlined that while the relationship between the U.S. and Israel may be strained, any attempts to break off the relationship would not work. Netanyahu has advocated on multiple occasions that the easiest path to peace between Israel and Palestine would be an “economic path” – relying on commerce and money loans to make peace.

Bejamin Netanyahu’s history as Prime Minister

President Obama is not the first United States President that Benjamin Netanyahu has met with. Netanyahu was originally Prime Minister of Israel from 1996 – 1999. After a turn in political fortunes and 10 years of political work in Israel, Netanyahu again became the head of a coalition government in Israel. In the past, Netanyahu has called U.S. led peace talks between Israel and Palestine a “waste of time.” In January of 2009, Netanyahu claimed he would continue the Israeli policy of not building new settlements in disputed areas. However, the recent approval of an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem seems to contradict this act.

Sources:

Voice of America News
Guardian
The Jerusalem Post
Wikipedia

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