US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met in the White House on Monday.
"The United States has no better friend than Israel,” Obama said at the start of the meeting with Netanyahu. He also said that he is committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Regarding the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Obama praised Netanyahu and said that there are “very important and difficult issues” being discussed in the negotiations, and Netanyahu “takes them all seriously.”
Netanyahu called on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish nation. He also noted: “The people in Israel expect me to be strong and to withstand pressure” while he is in Washington.
"In the 20 years since Israel embarked upon the [Oslo] peace treaty,” Netanyahu said, “Israel made great efforts to obtain peace – we evicted cities, we freed prisoners, and when you look at what we got in return – you see thousands of missiles on our cities, and suicide terrorists.”
"Israel is doing its part and the Palestinians are not,” he stated. “And that is the truth, and the Nation of Israel knows it is the truth, because they live it.”
Netanyahu called on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish nation. He also noted: “The people in Israel expect me to be strong and withstand pressure.”
As Netanyahu prepared to meet Obama in Washington Monday, an Israeli diplomatic source told Arutz Sheva that Netanyahu intends to tell Obama that he should place pressure on the Palestinian Authority (PA) if he wants peace talks to progress – not on Israel.
Abbas, for his part, is finding it difficult to give up the demand for the “right of return” of descendants of Palestinian refugees into Israel, and to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He will ask Obama to put pressure on Netanyahu to forgo these demands and to release more terrorist murderers from Israeli jails.
The diplomatic source stressed that Netanyahu will make clear to Obama that he represents Israel's citizens, and has no intention of yielding to Abbas's demands.
Netanyahu arrived at the White House Monday in a large black 4x4 shortly before 1:45 p.m. local time (1845 GMT) as temperatures plummeted and a major snowstorm blanketed Washington.
Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) spoke Monday morning about Obama's stated intentions to pressure Israel into massive concessions during Netanyahu's US visit this week. The two are set to meet Monday in what observers said could be a "tough" experience for Netanyahu.
"The American administration is again pressuring the wrong side," said Akunis. "You don't need to convince Israel to have a desire for peace, that desire exists. Now you need to pressure the serial refusers of peace for the past hundred years -- the Palestinians."
Akunis added "they should start with the most basic thing, recognizing the state of Israel." As basic as the recognition may be, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has consistently refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, creating a deadlock in the talks.
Speaking to Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg in an interview published Sunday, Obama warned that time was running out for a peace deal. He further claimed that Abbas “is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist.”