Netanyahu meets with Obama in Washington in first meeting in 13 months

Meeting in Washington to focus on Syria, Iran, peace process and possible increase of US aid to Israel

Netanyahu with Obama at White House (AP)

Netanyahu with Obama at White House (AP)

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with President Obama in Washington Monday, their first meeting in 13 months. The leaders reported the intention of “looking to find common ground” following severed relations over the past year following Netanyahu’s address to Congress and nuclear deal made by world powers with Iran.

Prior to their meeting, both leaders gave a press conference laying out topics for discussion between the two leaders.

On relations between Obama and Netanyahu, Obama stated “It’s no secret that the prime minister and I have had a strong disagreement on this narrow issue.”

Focusing on Israel’s right to defend itself and ongoing Palestinian violence, Obama stated that the meeting would serve as “an opportunity for the prime minister [Netanyahu] and myself to engage in a wide-ranging discussion on some of the most pressing security issues that both our countries face… It’s no secret that the security environment in the Middle East has deteriorated in many areas, and as I’ve said repeatedly, the security of Israel is one of my top foreign policy priorities. And that’s expressed itself not only in words, but in deeds”

Obama stated that the United States “condemn in the strongest terms Palestinian violence against innocent Israeli citizens. It is my strong belief that Israel has not just the right, but the obligation to protect itself… the security of Israel is my top priority. We want to make sure Israel can defend itself.”

Netanyahu stressing Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution with the Palestinians, stated “I want to make it clear. We haven’t given up our hope for peace. We remain committed to the two-state solution.”

The leaders reportedly discussed US defense aid increase, Russian military developments in the region, Iranian arms and economic aid to terrorist organizations, as well as the peace process with the Palestinians.