Obama, Netanyahu said to agree to expanded US military aid
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Obama, Netanyahu said to agree to expanded US military aid

US, Israel to form joint task force to handle Iran nuclear-deal monitoring; PM to meet Kerry before leaving DC to discuss steps by Israel, Palestinians to calm tensions

US President Barack Obama (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, November 9, 2015. (AFP/Saul Loeb)
US President Barack Obama (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, November 9, 2015. (AFP/Saul Loeb)

US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday tentatively agreed to an increase in American military aid to Israel and the establishment of a joint task force on Iran’s nuclear program, Channel 2 reported.

In a closed-door meeting that Netanyahu’s aides described as “good,” the two leaders reportedly agreed on an increase to Israeli defense aid, both immediately and in the coming decade. The particulars, however, still need to be hammered out by Washington.

Netanyahu later described the meeting to Israeli reporters as “one of the best” he’s ever had with Obama, saying there was no tension and only a focus on moving forward.

Before leaving for Washington, Netanyahu said he hoped to lay down groundwork for the next decade of US aid to Israel during his meet-up with Obama.

“I believe that this meeting is important in order to clarify the continuation of American aid to Israel in the coming decade,” Netanyahu said.

The new American defense package has been described as “compensation” to Israel for the Iran deal.

The president and prime minister also reportedly agreed to forming a joint US-Israeli task force to monitor the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.

Netanyahu and Obama butted heads for several years over a nuclear deal with Iran, which was finally reached by world powers and Tehran in July. Since then, Netanyahu has criticized the accord as a “bad deal” and called it a “stunning historic mistake.”

Concerning the rise in violence between Israelis and Palestinians, Channel 2 reported that Netanyahu and Obama agreed to a series of practical steps by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to calm tensions and prevent further escalation of hostilities.

The report gave no indication of what those steps would be.

Before departing for Washington, Netanyahu was reportedly set to unveil to Obama a series of goodwill gestures aimed at the Palestinians. The moves were detailed by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen to American counterpart Susan Rice last week, according to a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz Sunday.

Netanyahu is meet with Secretary of State John Kerry before leaving Washington, to discuss this and other issues further.

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