Netanyahu and Obama shake hands 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
If, as widely expected, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu forms the next
government following the January 22 elections, the first meeting of his second
term with US President Barack Obama is expected to take place in Washington in
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has
invited Netanyahu to address its annual policy conference in Washington, which
will be held on March 3-5. Once there, it is widely expected that Netanyahu will
meet with Obama, who will also just be embarking on his second term.
last meeting between the two leaders took place last March in Washington, also
when Netanyahu went to the US capital to address AIPAC. The two did not meet in
September, when Netanyahu was in the US to address the UN General
Even though the possible meeting is some two months off and as
yet unconfirmed, messages have been passing between Jerusalem and Washington in
recent weeks regarding the likely meeting and ways to set a more positive tone
in the relationship at the outset of both leaders’ new terms.
meeting between the two men in the White House in May 2009, when Obama surprised
Netanyahu with a call for a settlement freeze, is widely regarded as having
started the relationship off on the wrong foot, and officials on both sides have
articulated interest in ensuring that the first meeting of the second term
starts off on a better note.
Netanyahu met with Obama eight times in the
US during his first term in office.
The Obama-Netanyahu meeting is likely
to come amid a concerted European effort to push the Israeli-Palestinian
diplomatic process forward.