Political sources in Jerusalem have announced that US President Barack Obama will host Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White host on November 9th. Netanyahu is travelling to the US capital on November 8th to attend the Jewish Federations of North America’s annual conference.This meeting between the two leaders is seen as especially significant in light of the ongoing rift between the two leaders over Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, which Netanyahu has vociferously opposed.
Last March, when Netanyahu was in Washington to address Congress and express his opposition to the nuclear deal, he was pointedly rebuffed by the White House and no officials met with him. Recently, when Secretary of State John Kerry toured the Middle East to discuss the nuclear deal with American allies, Israel was not included in his itinerary. Many believe that Israel/US relations have taken a beating over this issue and any moves towards reconciliation would be significant and meaningful.
White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said he could not confirm a White House meeting between Obama and Netanyahu.
“We’ve made clear that consultation between U.S. and Israeli officials is something that has been ongoing. And the President reaffirmed in his telephone call with Prime Minister Netanyahu a couple of months ago that the security cooperation between our two countries would continue,” Earnest said on Friday.
“We have not yet received from the Israelis an interest in detailed discussions about deepening that security cooperation relationship, but we stand ready to have it when the Israelis are. But I don’t have any specific meetings to tell you about right now.”
On Thursday, President Obama made his traditional pre-holiday phone call to 500 American rabbis. He said that security talks with Israel had resumed and he hoped to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the United Nations’ General Assembly opening session, which starts next week and runs through Oct. 6.
“My hope is to have a long discussion with Mr. Netanyahu about these issues when he comes to the United Nations during the General Assembly of the United Nations, or immediately after that,” he said.