Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel to Washington at the beginning of
March to attend the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
policy conference, and is also expected to meet with US President Barack Obama,
his office announced Sunday.
While the prime minister usually travels to
Washington for the annual AIPAC event, there was some doubt this year because
President Shimon Peres will also be attending the conference, and it raises
questions about who will get a meeting with Obama. It is unusual for the US
president to meet separately with two Israeli leaders in the same
“There is reason to believe a meeting will be set up with President
Obama,” a source in the Prime Minister’s Office said.
conference runs from March 4 – 6.
The President’s Residence issued a
statement two weeks ago saying Peres would be going to Washington for the AIPAC
event, where he will be honored for his life’s work, and that he would also be
holding a round of diplomatic meetings with senior US officials in Washington.
Although there has not yet been any official announcement of a Peres- Obama
meeting, sources in the President’s Residence said efforts were being made to
coordinate a date.
Netanyahu last met with Obama in September, at the UN
General Assembly where Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas formally
applied for membership in the world body. Obama came out strongly against that
move in his speech to the UN, widely considered his most pro-Israel speech since
In a related development, Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman was scheduled to leave early Monday morning for Washington where he is
expected to meet this week with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the
first time since September 2010.
While Lieberman meets regularly with his
European counterparts, he has not played a central role in Jerusalem’s
relationship with Washington, which is being conducted primarily by Netanyahu
and his office, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. This will be Lieberman’s fourth
meeting with Clinton since he became foreign minister in 2009, and only his
second visit to Washington.