Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington early Tuesday, preparing to meet top American officials – with the meetings to culminate in a meeting Wednesday with U.S. President Donald Trump. While speculation has been rife on what the agenda for that meeting will be, Channel Ten quoted sources in the White House as saying that the two-state solution will not be on it – and will merit only a mention in passing, if at all.
Likely at the top of PM Netanyahu’s agenda will be what to do about Iran, government sources said. Weekend reports said that Netanyahu had several ideas he planned to share with Trump, given the President’s apparent willingness to confront Tehran on its violations of the nuclear treaty signed with the Obama administration.
Government ministers took comfort from the Channel Ten report. The Cabinet met Sunday night to discuss the trip, and discussion revolved around what, if anything, PM Netanyahu should say about implementing the two-state solution. The consensus was clearly against it, government minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio. “Every single minister in the Cabinet opposes a Palestinian state, especially the Prime Minister. I would be very happy if Netanyahu came off with a promise that after eight difficult years, Israel would be allowed to build without limitations.”
Speaking to Israel Radio, Minister Yisrael Katz said that Israel “needs to loudly say no to a Palestinian state, and yes to an expanded and united Jerusalem, and to full sovereignty for Israel.” The new administration in Washington, he added, could help even the playing field for Israel on the international stage, with a staunch American ally standing by Israel in the face of European pressure for concessions.
“The President and I see eye to eye on many of the threats facing Israel and the region, but also on the opportunities in the region. We will discuss both,” Netanyahu said before he left Israel on Monday. “Among other things, we will also discuss enhancing our alliance and expanding it to many other areas. I have had discussions with security officials, the Foreign Ministry, and of course the Cabinet, where the discussions were thorough and serious. At the end of the discussions I told my interlocutors that I planned to lead and navigate the historic alliance between Israel and the United States for the good of the State of Israel and of all Israelis, and this is what I intend to do.”
Meanwhile, Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon attempted to lower the expectations on Israel’s right for positive results emerging from the meeting. Speaking on Army Radio Tuesday, Danon said that “the first meeting between the new President and the Prime Minister is an important one, of course. But I have been hearing from many people that January 20, the day President Trump took office, or February 16th, the day of the meeting, represents the ‘beginning of a new era.’ I am not sure this is the case, and I would suggest to everyone that they put these things into the proper perspective, lest they be disappointed later.”