President Obama Meets With Prime Minister Netanyahu

21May09


For the first time since his election in February, new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama this week. The meeting had been billed as part of a series of meetings President Obama has been having with Middle Eastern leaders as he prepares to unveil his Middle East policy in June. As expected, the conversation centered on the threat from Iran and a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the weekend, aides to both camps downplayed expectations for the meeting, pointing out that the intention of the meeting is to foster discussion of positions and not to set policies.

On Iran, President Obama confirmed that he will not set an absolute deadline for negotiations with Iran regarding their suspected nuclear weapons program, particularly considering Iran’s upcoming presidential elections. However, he expects to see some change on the part of the Iranians by the end of this year; otherwise, a reassessment of the situation in conjunction with the international community will be necessary. Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked President Obama for his commitment to Israel’s security and his unwillingness to remove any options from the table when dealing with Iran.

For his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not endorse a two-state solution for the Palestinian territories. However, Netanyahu did reaffirm his position that the Palestinian people should be a self-governing group and expressed his desire to start peace talks with the Palestinians immediately, while still insisting that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. President Obama declared the importance of a Palestinian state and attested that it would be crucial for both the Israelis and the Palestinians to adhere to the steps laid out in the 2003 road map to peace.  Both leaders agreed that there is a broad link between progress with both the Iranians and Palestinians, although they disagreed about how the specifics of this link should affect policy. In sum, analysts believe that the meeting went well, setting the foundation for a close working relationship between the US and Israel.

We will continue to update you with new developments as they happen.

For more information:

The Jerusalem Post:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1242212406429&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

Ha’aretz:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1086377.html

JTA:

http://jta.org/news/article/2009/05/18/1005235/obama-wont-talk-forever-on-iran

New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/world/middleeast/19prexy.html

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Speeches+by+Israeli+leaders/2009/PM_Netanyahu_meets_US_Pres_Obama_18-May-2009.htm

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One Response to “President Obama Meets With Prime Minister Netanyahu”

  1. 1 Hadassah SC

    Thank you! Please feel free to submit and suggestions or questions. Have a great weekend.


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