US President Barack Obama (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would talk with US President Barack Obama about ways to improve security for Israel when the two men meet in Washington on Monday morning for the first time in over a year.
Among the central issues will be the renewal of the ten-year Memorandum of Understanding that expires in 2017, by which Israel received $3.1 billion a year.
Israel expects to renew the deal, but wants to expand it to $50 billion over ten years.
“I believe that this meeting is important in order to clarify the continuation of American aid to Israel in the coming decade. It will be another step toward realizing an understanding in this direction,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.
“My conversation with the president will center on recent events in the Middle East, including in Syria, possible progress with the Palestinians, or at least stabilizing the situation with them, and, of course, strengthening the security of the State of Israel, which the US has always been committed to, while maintaining the State of Israel's comparative advantage in the face of a changing Middle East and a cycle that changes less,” Netanyahu said.
He plans to depart for Washington in the afternoon, after the funeral for the fifth president of Israel, Yitzhak Navon.
Aside from his Obama meeting, he will deliver speeches to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the annual Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly and the Center for American Progress, before flying back to Israel on Wednesday.
In Washington on Friday, White House press secretary John Earnest said, “The president looks forward to discussing with the prime minister regional security issues including implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [the Iran deal] to peacefully and verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Earnest said.
“The president also looks forward to discussing Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, the situation in the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank and the need for the genuine advancement of a two-state solution,” Earnest said.
“Prime minister Netanyahu’s visit is a demonstration of the deep and enduring bonds between the US and Israel as well as the unprecedented security cooperation including our close consultations to further enhance Israel’s security,” he said.