In public, Obama and Netanyahu spent most of their time touting a 10-year military assistance deal their countries struck this month worth $38 billion, the largest tranche of military aid the US has ever given another country.
Yesterday, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC released a letter signed by 88 of 100 US senators calling on President Obama to oppose one-sided United Nations intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Similarly, Obama professed that the bond between the two countries is unbreakable.
In addition, Obama said diplomacy is the only way to end the five-year deadly war in Syria, as a shaky ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russian Federation is in danger of falling apart.
The two men even tried to inject some warmth into their often chilly discussions.
But although Obama criticized both Israel and the Palestinians in his annual speech before the world governing body, his Tuesday remarks did not propose any new guidelines for resolving the decades-old conflict. He then invited Obama to play at a golf course near his home in Israel.
“We’ll set up a tee time”, Obama quipped.
The U.S. presidential election pits Democrat Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state and his choice for the top job, against Republican businessman Donald Trump.
A USA official who tracks the issue said he does not expect the White House to decide whether Obama might make a speech on the issue or seek to pass a new U.N. Security Council resolution, until after Americans elect his successor. That could come in the form of a major speech or a U.S. -backed U.N. Security Council resolution both moves that would increase pressure on Israel and that Netanyahu would be expected to oppose.
The result, they say, is likely to be a legacy of failure on an issue Obama made a priority when he came into office in 2009 and declared in his first U.N. General Assembly address: “I will not waver in my pursuit of peace”.
The surge in violence comes two weeks before the start of holidays marking the Jewish new year.
Obama himself seemed to acknowledge that their closed-door meetings have been contentious.
“I want you to know, Barack, that you will always be a welcome guest in Israel”, the Israeli PM said.
Israeli security forces fire tear gas canisters to disperse Palestinian protesters during a demonstration. But he also said peace won’t come until “Israel recognizes it can not permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land”.
Rhodes told reporters on Tuesday that the United States has discussed its concerns about Israeli settlements and “the potential viability of a Palestinian state in the face of that settlement activity”.
NEW YORK (AP) Frustrated after years of fraught diplomacy, President Barack Obama will seek Wednesday to cast the US partnership with Israel as on solid footing, even as he openly weighs using the final stretch of his presidency to ramp up pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to finally make peace with the Palestinians.
But Netanyahu decided it would be best to forge a new arrangement with Obama, who leaves office in January, rather than hoping for better terms from the next US administration, according to officials on both sides.
Palestinian leaders say the attackers are acting out of desperation over collapsed peace talks in 2014 and Israeli settlement expansion on territory which Palestinians seek for an independent state.
So is this the last meeting in this complicated and closely watched relationship? “That’s a goal that I and the people of Israel will never give up on”, Netanyahu said.