Obama, Netanyahu to meet

Posted at 11:28 AM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 14:28:16-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — After months of chilly relations, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet at the White House on Nov. 9 to talk about the Iran nuclear deal that Israel's government has harshly criticized and tried without success to block.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the leaders also would discuss efforts to counter the Islamic State group's activities in the Mideast. He called the meeting a demonstration "of the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel as well as our unprecedented cooperation to further enhance Israel's security."

It will be the first formal meeting between Obama and Netanyahu in months.

Obama pointedly refused to see Netanyahu in March when the Israeli leader appeared before a joint meeting of Congress and harshly criticized the U.S.-negotiated nuclear deal with Iran, Israel's enemy. U.S. lawmakers had arranged Netanyahu's appearance without White House input.

Congressional Republicans have failed to block the deal from going forward. The international accord backed by the United States, Iran and five world powers would curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions that have undercut Tehran's economy.

The United States has committed to provide more than $7.18 billion in security aid to Israel over the next year. Officials have floated the possibility of signing a new 10-year agreement about U.S.-Israeli security cooperation. But Netanyahu's government has reacted tepidly to that proposal, out of concern that signing such a deal would suggest Israeli acquiescence to the nuclear accord.

Earnest said that two leaders' talks also would include a discussion of "Israel's relations with the Palestinians, the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and the need for the genuine advancement of a two-state solution."

Israeli police continue to clash with Palestinian protesters at Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site during the Jewish new year holiday of Rosh Hashanah.