Under cloud of investigations, Netanyahu leaves for U.S.

While in Washington, the prime minister will give a speech at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference and will meet with US President Donald Trump.

By
March 3, 2018 20:24
2 minute read.
Under cloud of investigations, Netanyahu leaves for U.S.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara leave for the US, March 4, 2018.. (photo credit: GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Saturday night for five days in the US and a meeting with US President Donald Trump, even as police continue to investigate him and former confidants for alleged wrongdoing in a number of different affairs.

Netanyahu told reporters that the focus now must be on the important matters of state that he planned to attend to during his trip to the US as an emissary of the citizens of Israel.

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“On behalf of all Israeli citizens, as I understand it, I am heading out to pursue three goals: security, peace and economic prosperity for our nation,” Netanyahu said.

“I want to take this opportunity to once again to thank the Israeli pubic for its good and warm support. It warms the heart,” Netanyahu said.

“This is a very important trip. I will meet with a great friend of Israel and a personal friend of mine, US President Donald Trump. I will thank him first and foremost for his historic decision o relocate the US Embassy [from Tel Aviv] to Jerusalem on Independence Day. This is a great gift to our nation,” Netanyahu said.

He did not answer a question shouted at him regarding the probing by the police on Friday, but did say that the support he has gotten from the Israeli public has been very "heartwarming."

On Friday afternoon, shortly after he and his wife Sara – who will be joining him in the US – were questioned again by the police, Netanyahu posted a video to his Facebook account calling his visit to the US a “very important” one, and saying he will meet with a “big friend of Israel, a true friend, President Donald Trump.”

Referring to the investigations and questioning, Netanyahu said he feels confident “because there will not be anything.”

This will be Netanyahu's fourth trip abroad since the beginning of the year, having gone to India and Davos in January, and Munich in February. It will also be Netanyahu's fifth meeting with Trump since the latter took office in January 2017.

Three issues are expected to be high on the agenda during Netanyahu's meeting with Trump: the president's recent decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem in May, the stalled diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and the Iranian nuclear deal, which Trump is presently trying to alter.

Netanyahu is expected to invite Trump to Jerusalem to take part in the formal ceremony that will officially change the existing US diplomatic compound in Jerusalem from a consulate to an embassy.

In addition to meeting Trump, Netanyahu also has meetings planned with both Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress.

Netanyahu is scheduled to address the annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington on Tuesday, the first time he has personally spoken at the gathering since 2015 – the last two years he spoke via a satellite hookup.

On Wednesday Netanyahu is to fly to New York and take part in a Jewish Agency fund-raising tribute to outgoing Chairman Natan Sharansky. Among those who will be speaking at the event are former president George W. Bush, with whom Sharansky forged a strong relationship.

JPost.com staff contributed to this report.


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