Obama to host Netanyahu at the White House

McClatchy Washington BureauFebruary 12, 2014 

President Obama will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu March 3 at the White House, the administration announced today.

Obama "looks forward to discussing with the Prime Minister progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, developments in Iran, and other regional priorities," says a statement from Press Secretary Jay Carney.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit is a demonstration of the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel, and our close consultations on a range of security issues," he said.

Netanyahu will be in town to address the annual AIPAC Policy Conference, which bills itself as "the largest gathering of the pro-Israel movement in the U.S."

Obama and Netanyahu have had famously frosty relations, with divisions between the two sharpening since Obama’s tough early stance in his first term against Israel’s building of Jewish settlements in the predominantly Palestinian West Bank.

The relationship warmed a bit when Obama made his first trip as president to Israel last year, but Israelis have expressed deep skepticism over the U.S. role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

And Netanyahu has blasted a deal that world powers reached with Tehran, calling it an "historic mistake."

"It's not made the world a safer place," Netanyahu said. "Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place."and remain leery of talks aimed at convincing Iran to abandon nuclear weapons."

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