Obama To Press Israel On Two-State Solution, Settlements
But will that exposure lead Mr. Obama to take a different tack from his predecessors in his dealings with Israel?
That question, which has captivated a wide spectrum of people, from America’s Israel lobby to Palestinian-Americans to the Muslim world, will take center stage on Monday, when Israel’s hawkish prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has his first face-to-face meeting with Mr. Obama since he became president.
In an interview broadcast Saturday on Israeli television, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said he believed that in the meeting, Mr. Netanyahu would signal a significant policy shift for his new government and endorse the creation of a Palestinian state — perhaps reflecting uncertainty about whether Mr. Obama would accept an Israeli hard line. LinkHere
Netanyahu ‘won’t back Palestinian state’ in US
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will refuse on his trip to Washington to back the formation of a Palestinian state, an MP close to the premier said on Saturday, according to national radio.
Netanyahu “will not make a commitment to Washington on the creation of a Palestinian state which would undoubtedly become a ‘Hamastan’,” Ophir Akunis from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party was quoted as saying, referring to the Islamic movement Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip and favours armed struggle against Israel.
The hawkish prime minister is scheduled to arrive in Washington on Sunday ahead of his maiden meeting with US President Barack Obama since the two men took office this year.
The key meeting takes place against a backdrop of disagreements over the Middle East conflict and how to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme.
While Netanyahu has repeatedly refused to endorse the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state, Obama is insisting on a “two-state solution” to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.”
Obama also wants the new Israeli government to halt new building work in Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank but Netanyahu has said he wants to expand existing settlements.
The Israeli premier has pledged to unveil his policy for regional peace at the White House meeting, focussed on countering Iran.
Contents are still secret but one Netanyahu aide told AFP that differences between Israel and the United States are “more on the outside” and “Israel does not want to rule the Palestinians” despite Netanyahu’s refusal to back a Palestinian state. LinkHere