Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the United States for five days in the first week of March, during which he will meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House and deliver an address at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference, the Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed.
Although the trip has been approved, the PMO said on Sunday, its final dates have yet to be finalized, with the details expected to be confirmed in the coming days.
The two leaders will likely discuss the faltering peace process with the Palestinians as well as differences between Jerusalem and Washington regarding Iran’s nuclear program, among other issues.
The last meeting between Netanyahu and Obama took place in September 2013, when the prime minister came to the US to address the UN General Assembly in New York.
Netanyahu’s sojourn is also expected to include a brief visit to the West Coast. He will attend the Los Angeles screening of “The Royal Tour,” an international tourism series hosted by journalist Peter Greenberg, whose episode in Israel co-stars the prime minister. Netanyahu will also stop in Silicon Valley.
The relationship between Netanyahu and the president has seen more than a few rough patches over the years.
Obama came into office eager to put a new face on the US relationship with the Middle East, but quickly angered Israeli leaders by calling for an end to settlement building and appearing to downplay, during a seminal 2009 speech in Cairo, the Jewish people’s historic ties to the region.
In the fall of that year, Obama was able to arrange a peace summit in New York with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The three leaders gathered and announced a new peace effort with great fanfare, but the initiative fell apart within days.
Tensions with Israel deepened when its government announced new housing construction in East Jerusalem during a visit to the country by US Vice President Joe Biden in March 2010.
Netanyahu, for his part, has voiced growing frustration over Obama’s policies vis-a-vis Iran and Syria, publicly criticizing the November 2013 nuclear deal with the Tehran regime as a “historic mistake” that lacked bite and wouldn’t hinder the Islamic Republic’s leaders in their alleged drive to acquire a nuclear weapons capability.
The visit also comes amid an acerbic, ongoing war of words between Israeli ministers and Washington over US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to clinch a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.