Netanyahu to Visit Obama Again

Round three: President Obama, with sinking popularity, is set to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to the White House for the third time in a year.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 11:38 AM

Obama (right) with Netanyahu in 2009 meeting
Obama (right) with Netanyahu in 2009 meeting
Israel news photo: Flash 90

U.S. President Barack Obama will invite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to visit the White House for the third time in a year, according to Israeli officials. The two leaders will meet next week after the Prime Minister’s trip next week to Canada.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who is using a private visit to Israel to try to repair relations with the government, will meet with Netanyahu on Wednesday, when he is expected to deliver the official invitation. He also will meet with President Shimon Peres and possibly with Defense Minister Ehud Barak.  

Emanuel came to Israel to celebrate his son's Bar Mitzvah but has kept a low profile following warnings of protests by nationalist activists.

The Prime Minister will leave on a week-long trip Thursday, first flying to Paris to mark Israel’s acceptance into to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and then to Canada to meet with Jewish leaders in Toronto and Ottawa and with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a staunch supporter of Israel.

The Obama-Netanyahu meting will take place several days before Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ turn for a White House appearance.

President Obama gave Prime Minister Netanyahu a chilly reception two months ago, without a shared meal, press conference or even an opportunity for photographers to show them shaking hands. Following harsh criticism by pro-Israel leaders, both Jewish and non-Jewish, next week’s meeting is expected to be more cordial.

In contrast, President Obama warmly received Defense Minister Barak, who is viewed by the American government as more likely to accept most of the PA conditions for an agreement to establish a new Arab state within Israel’s borders. Barak has said that Israel should surrender almost all of Judea and Samaria, and when he was Prime Minister in 2000, he offered former PA leader Yasser Arafat almost all of the land restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967. Arafat refused the offer and launched the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.