Netanyahu, Obama set March meeting in Washington


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Barack Obama in Washington next month.

Netanyahu confirmed the meeting, to be held during the first week in March, on Monday evening after reports appeared in the Israeli media.

In addition to meeting with Obama during his five days in the United States, Netanyahu will speak at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference, which begins March 2.

Netanyahu told reporters at the end of a meeting of his Likud Party’s Knesset faction that the trip has four purposes, including discussions on Iran and the current U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Netanyahu also said he will promote Israeli technology during the visit, which could include a trip to California’s Silicon Valley, and attend a screening in Los Angeles of “The Royal Tour,” an international tourism film featuring Israel.

Meanwhile, the While House responded on Sunday to an Israeli media report that Secretary of State John Kerry requested but did not receive Obama’s approval to confront Israel on its objections to the in-progress framework agreement, which he had hoped to make binding on Israel and the Palestinians.

“Any notion that Secretary Kerry failed to obtain the President’s backing for his efforts is totally false,” White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement. “President Obama remains fully invested in Secretary Kerry’s tireless work on behalf of peace, and those efforts are not focused on confronting the parties – they are aimed at bridging differences and developing a framework for negotiation on the core issues.”

The framework agreement will not be binding on either side, according to the report on Israel’s Channel 10, echoing statements in recent days from both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

-JTA News and Features

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