PM Netanyahu to Meet Obama

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell brought an invitation for Prime Minister Netanyahu to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday.

Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 4:02 PM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell brought with him a special message for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when the two men met Sunday afternoon: the envoy extended an invitation for the Prime Minister to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev told Israel National News that Netanyahu will meet with Obama on Tuesday, following his address Monday to the AIPAC annual policy convention in Washington D.C.

“The Prime Minister will be meeting with the top Congressional leaders from both parties in both houses,” Regev had told Israel National News earlier Sunday. “He will also be meeting with senior administration officials,” he said, but refused to divulge further details. Obama administration officials had told reporters that no meeting between the two leaders has been scheduled.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is leaving for the United States Sunday night.

Delegates to the AIPAC convention are expected to be extremely vocal in their support of Israel in the face of a crisis between the White House and Jerusalem that began during Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to the region. President Obama had planned to be in Indonesia, far from any possibility of having to meet with Israeli officials during the AIPAC convention, but was forced to scrap the idea due to difficulties passing his stumbling health reform legislation.

Netanyahu and Obama: Damage Control?
It is expected that both Netanyahu and Obama will attempt to repair the damage to the bond between their two countries that occurred during a visit 10 days ago by Vice President Biden. An ill-timed announcement of a Jerusalem zoning decision gave the vice president an opening to lead American officials in a scathing cascade of public condemnations of Israel’s housing policies in Jerusalem.

Biden publicly condemned the decision by the Interior Ministry – twice -- to go forward with the fourth of seven steps in a project to build 1,600 apartments in a neighborhood located in a northwestern section of the capital rejoined to it in 1967. Netanyahu apologized for the awkward timing of the approvals but noted that it was a routine municipal subject, one that he had not been personally aware of.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai also apologized, saying that Netanyahu had not been notified and that the issue had been an internal matter.

But as soon as Biden left the country, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed up with a 45-minute phone call to the Prime Minister, castigating him over the matter and delivering an ultimatum over a list of new demands she insisted Israel fulfill in order to “prove its commitment” to the peace process. White House adviser David Axelrod also added his voice to the chorus, inflaming matters further by telling reporters that the ill-timed announcement was an “insult” and an “affront” to Biden, the Obama Administration and to U.S. efforts to get the PA-Israel talks moving.

The rebukes, all carefully reported in the media, were delivered while the Palestinian Authority government simultaneously conducted a ceremony to publicly honor a brutal murderer who led the worst terrorist attack against Israel in the nation’s history. Dalal Mughrabi, for whom a public square was named in Ramallah on the last day of Biden’s visit, led a terror cells in slaughtering 37 civilians and wounding 71 others, including many children.  

At the same time, Muslim worshipers and other Arabs were rioting throughout Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount. Hamas terrorists fired deadly Kassam rockets at Israeli civilians in southern Negev communities, and other PA Arabs continued their daily rock attacks on Israeli drivers traveling along roads throughout Judea and Samaria.

American officials have yet to respond to the anti-Israel incitement under the official auspices of the PA government and the Fatah faction, both led by Mahmoud Abbas, whom the U.S. has labeled a “moderate” and “peace partner” for Israel. The American Roadmap peace plan specifically calls for the PA to stop all anti-Israel incitement and violence.

The Obama administration has also not criticized the daily rock attacks by PA Arabs on Israeli drivers, often potentially deadly, as they travel along the various roads in Judea, Samaria and around Jerusalem.  Nor has the White House condemned the recently-renewed Kassam rocket attacks emanating from Gaza -- including last week’s fatal attack, when a 30-year-old Thai worker was killed after a terrorist missile struck the greenhouse in which he was working in the community of Netiv Ha’Asara.