President Obama on Monday said Iran must show progress by the end of this year toward curbing its nuclear program, during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House that revealed stark disagreement and some tension between the two charismatic leaders.
By Jon Ward
The Washigton Times
During one of the most high-stakes meetings of Mr. Obama’s young presidency, he and the recently elected Israeli leader did their best to portray a united front on the issues of confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions and of Middle East peace talks.
But it was clear from their public statements that the two men, whose private one-on-one meeting went 30 minutes beyond the hour scheduled and was described by one high-ranking White House official as “warm” and “intense” were engaged in a push and pull over Washington’s desire for more movement from Jerusalem [Note] towards [/NOTE] toward peace negotiations, and Jerusalem’s demand that Washington ensure that Iran be stopped from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Mr. Obama’s[‘] call for the Israeli government to stop the construction of new settlements in Palestinian territories came hours after the Israel government was reported to be moving ahead with new construction permits for a settlement in the West Bank, though some in the government disputed the reports.
Mr. Netanyahu, meanwhile, made clear that his intent to engage in the peace process is predicated on a number of actions by the Palestinians, as well as by the United States, as it relates to Iran.
“We’re prepared to move with the president and with others in the Arab world, if they’re prepared to move as well,” Mr. Netanyahu said.
Mr. Obama, who is viewed by some as a less Israel-friendly president than his predecessors, went out of his way to affirm the U.S.-Israel alliance and to talk tough about Iran’s nuclear program.