It was officially announced today that U.S. President Obama will meet Israeli P.M. Netanyahu during his upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. in March. Netanyahu will be traveling to the U.S. capitol to address the AIPAC conference, and he will likely use this forum to gather support against a nuclear Iran, which Israel views as the greatest threat facing the world.
Although the Israeli and American governments insist that relations between the two ally countries are good, their underlying tension is felt throughout the world over disagreements on a number of issues, including how to deal with a nuclear Iran and the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. In Israel, we recognize the American government as a friend and ally to Israel, and we hope that the partnership will be strengthened in the coming months as the prospect of war with both Iran and Israel’s enemy neighbors grows greater.
There has not been a meeting between Obama and Netanyahu for more than six months, and the upcoming meeting will likely be the final one between the two leaders before Israel makes her final decision of how to deal with the threat of a nuclear Iran. The meeting will likely be full of tension and disagreement, being that Obama believes in the power of sanctions and Netanyahu seems to think that a military strike is becoming inevitable.
The nuclear Iran issue is pressing and time sensitive, and although Netanyahu has given the world the luxury of time to deal with this international threat, sanctions have proven nearly ineffective and much of the world’s leaders are vetoing the crippling sanctions that could actually make a difference. Obama knows that Israel is watching the ticking clock on the ability to stop Iran from possession of nuclear weapons, and this will be a main point of discussion during the leaders’ upcoming talks in March.
The Palestinian-Israeli peace talks have broken down, and by the time Obama and Netanyahu meet in March, the direction that the Palestinian Authority has chosen will be crystal clear for the world to see. By March, Israel estimates that the Hamas/Fatah agreements will be finalized, and Fatah will have their plans of how to move forward with international recognition in the U.N. Obama will need to present Netanyahu with his vision of Middle East peace, after this huge step by Fatah in the direction of terror and disengagement from peace talks takes place.
Every meeting between Obama and Netanyahu has so far been historic and groundbreaking, but I believe that the upcoming meeting in March will be the most potent and practical talks that these two world leaders have had yet, and might even breed decisions that will change the world as we know it.