Netanyahu: ‘One of the best meetings I’ve had with Obama’

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters following his meeting Monday with President Barack Obama that the meeting had been one of the better ones the two have had.

"The conversation took place in a pleasant atmosphere, I would say constructive and businesslike," he said in a briefing following the meeting in Washington. "What was seen on the outside, was evident inside as well. [It was ] one of the best meetings I have had with Obama and I think the other side felt the same way."

The prime minister said that "the conversation was very relaxed, and honest. No one hides the differences between us, and now the question is what to do with them. We have a common interest in preventing Iran from violating the agreement that was signed with it, and we will cooperate on this issue."

"I did not feel any pent-up tension which is sometimes felt. The tone and essence of the conversation was very productive as well. There were no arguments and confrontations," continued Netanyahu.

He revealed that the central theme of the conversation was a memorandum of understanding regarding the increase of American military aid to Israel. "We did not focus on an amount, but I presented our needs, and we hope he accepts our analysis of the regional changes. The region has turned upside down compared to the previous decade, the previous agreement was signed in 2007 and it is impossible to compare the Middle East now to what it was then."

Netanyahu clarified that teams will be established to determine the scope of the aid, and the first American team will arrive in Israel within a month to begin the process which way may take some time.

"There is a genuine desire to reach an agreement and that is very important for us. I appreciate that President Obama wants to do so during his tenure. In fact we are ahead of schedule by two years, and I think there is great importance that there is a common willingness, both by the [Israeli] government and the American government, both by Obama and by me, to complete it seriously and in depth while, of course, taking our needs into account," he continued.

Netanyahu also addressed the Palestinian issue, noting that "the main objective is the desire to avoid tensions." He added he will meet on Tuesday with Secretary of State John Kerry and engage in dialogue in an attempt to restore calm.

"The issue of preventing a flare-up in the area is in Israel's interest no less than it is an American interest. Just like we are working in Gaza: on the one hand we have deterrence, while ensuring there is no humanitarian crisis there and providing regular supplies to the population, and it serves the Israeli interest," said the prime minister.

"There are things that can be done that will increase friction and tension, and there are things we can do to lower the tension. What we're trying to do is differentiate between the population and the terrorists, and are promoting things in that spirit," he added.

"The challenge we are working on at the moment is handling the intersection of the Internet and Palestinian nationalism and more so the radical Islam that is attached to it. This is the real problem."

Another issue that came up in conversation is the situation with Syria. "I repeated Israel’s red lines. We will not tolerate attacks from Syrian territory, and we will not agree to Iran opening a second front on the Golan Heights," Netanyahu explained.

"I said we cannot accept a settlement with Syria which leaves it as the scene of attacks against Israel. We cannot accept it. The agreement should include the cessation of the use of Syrian territory for indirect or direct attacks on Israel."

The prime minister noted that a number of issues did not come up in the conversation, such as a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria ("My position on the subject is known and clear," declared the prime minister), as well as the issue of the appointment of Ran Baratz as of head of public diplomacy.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/203151

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *