July 2nd, 2010
05:39 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama and Netanyahu to talk peace in the Oval Office

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/02/art.obama.netanyahu.gi.jpg caption ="President Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on July 6th."]

Washington (CNN) - The White House says President Obama will attempt to "seize momentum" in the Middle East peace process when he sits down Tuesday morning for a rescheduled Oval office meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The gaps have narrowed," said Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.

In a conference call briefing ahead of the long anticipated meeting, Rhodes and Dan Shapiro, NSC Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said the meeting would focus on how to move proximity talks to direct talks, and on the recent "liberalization" of Israel's policy on commercial traffic into Gaza.

The controversial embargo, which blocked the flow of goods from Gaza to Israel, turned deadly in May, when Israeli forces stormed a vessel that was part of a Gaza bound humanitarian flotilla. At least nine people were killed.

Shapiro said the situation had been "unsustainable," but officials added that the U.S. continues to be sensitive to Israel's security concerns over weapons being shipped into Gaza.

Tuesday's meeting would come on the heels of visits to the White House by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Tuesday, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on June 9th. Administration officials said those discussions centered on issues of regional security and progress made in gaining tougher UN sanctions on Iran.

This would be the fifth meeting between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu since the Prime Minister took office last spring.

While the White House has downplayed any rift between the two leaders, some have described the relationship as "frosty." During Netanyahu's last visit to the White House he was left to consult with his own staff in the Roosevelt room for more than one hour, after the President retreated to his residence.

In addition, the White House didn't schedule media access to that meeting. That's something normally afforded a head of government or state. President Obama, now 18 months into his presidency, has yet to visit Israel – and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he's not aware of any plans for a trip.

Shapiro dismissed the idea of a rift between the U.S. and Israel instead he touted the relationship. "This is a very close relationship, a special relationship, a strategic alliance with one of our closest partners in not just the Middle East but the entire world." Shapiro said.

Filed under: Benjamin Netanyahu • Israel • President Obama
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Hows that oil slick coming along Rush?

    Poor little Benny,has the money pit run dry?

    July 2, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. thor

    Netanyahu better bring his own lunch just in case Obama decides to walk out on him again !!!

    July 2, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. Why has Obama not visited Israel as president?

    He's been to 7 Muslim countries but NOT to Israel. Nuff said?

    July 2, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. g

    natanyaho isn,t he the same guy back in the 1980 that isreal would not need american tax payer money in 5yrs that they would be on there own why should anyone trust him now, he must be looking for more money.

    July 2, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. jeff jackson, alabama

    I'll lay odds that that so called meeting will turn into a
    ten minute photo op. Then Netanyahu will get on his
    plane and wonder why he wasted the time to fly over here.

    July 2, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Desmond

    Getting Netanyahu to be honest and reasonable will be a miracle. May Obama work it!

    July 2, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. gerry luimes

    The only momemtum that can-and should- be seized is initiative by Israel to allow the flow of all goods into Gaza EXCEPT weapens.
    The Palestinians are not the problem;HAMAS is.So long as Hamas is not eliminated there cannot and never will be peace no matter who talks and how often.
    gerry at edmonton.can.

    July 2, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  8. todd

    This time for once in your life Mr. President, show a little class. The whole Musslim world knows that you favor the terrorist over the Jewish people.

    July 2, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. GonzoinHouston

    We have to draw a distinction between loyalty to Israel and loyalty to the current government of Israel. There will never be peace with Netanyahu in power. He doesn't want peace, he wants conquest. The most workable plan ever proposed for peace with the Palestinians was laid out by Ariel Sharon, who was brought down by a stroke.

    Like the vast majority of Americans, I would not sit still and see Israel destroyed; I also believe that the Netanyahu government will make matters worse, not better, and that does not make me either anti-Israel or anti-Semetic.

    July 2, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. Franklin in NJ

    I like Obama and everything, he's just too shady for me. I know that is OK with some people and that's fine, none of my business. It's just not for me.

    Thank you.

    July 2, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. Rick

    SLObama once again is selling America and dealing away our Freedom, SLObama needs to GO and take hitler pelosi with you,

    July 2, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. Jeff Spangler

    Protest the Israeli carpet salesman and war criminal at Lafayette Park across from The White House on Tuesday, July 6 at 10 AM. We do not need Israel and they don't respect international law, so screw 'em!

    July 2, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |