Netanyahu, Obama to meet in D.C.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Barack Obama in Washington next month.

In addition to meeting with Obama during his five days in the United States the first week of March, Netanyahu will speak at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference. AIPAC confirmed the prime minister’s appearance at the three-day conference beginning March 2.

Netanyahu told reporters at the end of a meeting of his Likud party’s Knesset faction that the trip has four purposes, including discussions on Iran and the current U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Netanyahu also said he will promote Israeli technology during his visit, which could include a trip to Silicon Valley.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 10 reported Feb. 9 that Secretary of State John Kerry sought Obama’s “political backing for confrontation primarily with Israel,” but was rebuffed. The report cited unnamed sources close to the negotiations.

The White House denied that report in a statement: “Any notion that Secretary Kerry failed to obtain the president’s backing for his efforts is totally false. President Obama remains fully invested in Secretary Kerry’s tireless work on behalf of peace, and those efforts are not focused on confronting the parties — they are aimed at bridging differences and developing a framework for negotiation on the core issues.”

The framework agreement will not be binding on either side, according to the TV report, echoing statements in recent days from Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. — jta