Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu To Talk With Trump About Attending Embassy Opening

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with coalition head and Likud parliament member David Amsalem and Likud parliament member Miki Zohar at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset on Feb. 26 2018. Credit Yonatan Sindel  Flash90
Ex-Netanyahu aide, businessman released and put under house arrest
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06 March, 2018

Mr Trump's push to change or scrap Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and concerns over Tehran's foothold in Syria topped the agenda of his talks with Mr Netanyahu, US and Israeli officials said.

A third confidant of Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to turn state witness and give evidence against the Israeli prime minister, who faces a wave of corruption allegations, according to media reports in the country.

Trump has offered unswerving support for Israel since coming to office, sharing Netanyahu's determination to challenge Iran's growing regional influence. He has accused Iran of planning to build precision-guided missile factories in Lebanon, amid tensions along that border. And I think we have to stop this country that chants, 'Death to Israel, death to America.' Iran must be stopped.

Palestinian negotiators have refused to meet with the USA following those pronouncements but that hasn't stopped the United States from moving forward with the plan. But with Russian Federation the dominant global player in Syria, it is unclear what practical steps Washington could take to ease Israeli concerns.

"This is a routine check-in meeting", one US official said of Netanyahu's second visit to the Trump White House.

Asked if he would take part in the planned ceremony, which will coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence, Trump said "I may, we'll be talking about that".

Several of Trump campaign aides are facing charges or have pled guilty to lying to FBI investigators.

Any hopes for a new peace process have dwindled since Trump's recognition of Jerusalem angered the Palestinians.

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"The Arabs have never been closer to Israel; Israel has never been closer to the Arabs", Netanyahu claimed. Netanyahu was expected to ask for USA assistance in preventing Iran from gaining a stronger foothold in Syria as the civil war there deteriorates.

At the outset of the meeting, Trump commented, "We have right now probably the best relationship with Israel we've ever had".

Netanyahu is facing a corruption investigation back in Israel; he is in Washington to speak to AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group.

In the Oval Office, Netanyahu thanked Trump for following through on his promise.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in any of the cases.

Both he and Trump, who's dealing with the Russian Federation investigation, say they're not concerned. Multiple aides and people close to Kushner have insisted the downgrade to a "secret" clearance won't affect his ability to work on Middle East issues.

Palestinians oppose the embassy move, one of the major complications as the Trump team tries to come up with a peace deal.

"I think they are partners in ideology, and the ideology is a populist, conservative ideology which says that the old liberal elites are against us", said Gayil Talshir, a political scientist at Jerusalem's Hebrew University.


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