CMEP Bulletin: Netanyahu comes to Washington
Weekly Churches for Middle East Peace update on #Israel-#Palestine
This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House and address the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference. Both were opportunities for us to gauge where the Israeli leader thinks the negotiations restarted by Secretary of State John Kerry last July are headed and specifically whether he will agree to a framework deal to extend them. During his trip, Netanyahu impressed some by strongly expressing his commitment to a peace agreement but his insistence that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state continues to be a roadblock.
Reports from last week indicated that President Obama was entering the fray to personally pressure Netanyahu agree to a framework that would outline general terms for issues like security, borders and refugees. When negotiations restarted over the summer, the original deadline for a deal was the end of April. A framework agreement would keep the parties at the table to hammer out the final status issues on an extended time frame, possibly until the end of 2014.