‘US public getting fed up with Netanyahu’s insults of US govt’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama are meeting in Washington on Monday. This is the first time the two leaders have met in more than a year after a disagreement over the Iran nuclear deal. RT discussed with experts potential topics of discussion.
RT: What does Netanyahu expect from the talks with President Obama? Will this meeting result in any kind of breakthrough?
James Petras: I think there is no great event which will transpire from this visit. I think it is a typical Netanyahu visit in which he will demand further military supplies from the US – military grants. It is not clear what he is going to ask – if it’s airplanes, missiles or some kind of a defensive shield. He will also pressure Washington to become more directly involved in the war in Syria. He will continue to put pressure on the US against the agreement with Iran. He will defend Israel’s massacre of Palestinians and put it using defensive rhetoric. But I should mention here, that while the media continues to present the Israeli perspective and point of view favorably, the American public is getting fed up with Netanyahu’s insults of the American government, the American president. And to the killings in Palestine – Israel is not ‘the sacred cow’ that it was years ago…More and more Americans…are begging to criticize Israel’s unwillingness to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians… So, I don’t think that this will be a very big success for Netanyahu.
…He will continue to receive applause from the Republican Congress people and the media. But I think the general appearance is quite negative. His Minister of Press – his Press- Secretary is looked upon as a ‘lunatic’ who considers [John] Kerry an idiot and President Obama as an anti-Semite. That doesn’t wash in the US anymore.
RT: How do you see the current relationship between Netanyahu and Obama, especially, given the disagreement over the Iran nuclear deal?
JP: I think there is no ‘love lost’ between Netanyahu and Obama. I think they dislike each other at a personal level. But for reasons of politics they will shake hands, they will smile together and Obama will not reject Netanyahu’s request for greater military aid. What he may resist is the demands Netanyahu will make regarding the attempts to scuttle the Iranian agreement. And I think he will pacify Israel on the question of Syria and Bashar Assad. I think Netanyahu will emphasize his opposition to Bashar Assad and insist that Obama does more in terms of US military involvement. Though how and where the US can involve itself further in Syria - is not clear.
RT: What topics are likely to be discussed during Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the US? What will be the main focus of the upcoming talks?
Owen Alterman: There is talk about a potential memorandum of understanding, a new deal for the US Defense Agency and Israel over 10 years. Netanyahu is also coming to Washington with ideas for confidence building measures with the Palestinians. So, that’s a potential topic that will be discussed. And maybe there will be some important progress on that. And maybe some progress and understanding about how to enforce the Iran nuclear deal. But that may be something that is more of a point of disagreement.
There are still a lot of disagreements between the two countries and the two leaders on the Iran issue. I don’t think that there is more agreement on that than was in the past. But I do think the two leaders will try to look for other areas where the gaps will be narrower and they can find ways to agree such as this potential defense deal between Israel and the US over the course of 10 years. Israel is asking the US to increase its defense aid and to let Israel buy certain types of planes and weapons. This may be something the US will be willing to consider and can help to improve the ties between the countries.
RT: What other meetings with US officials are planned during Netanyahu’s visit to the US?
OA: I don’t know if there are any plans for Netanyahu to meet with any members of Congress but what he is going to be doing which is very interesting is speaking at two think tanks in Washington. One is a conservative think tank and another interestingly is a liberal think tank from the other side of the aisle. And that is viewed by many people here as an attempt by Netanyahu to improving his relationship with Democrats which was frayed back in March.
RT: Is Netanyahu still as popular in the US as he was before the deal with Iran?
OA: Probably, not. Certainly not among Democrats. That is a challenge for Netanyahu. And something that I think even he realizes that he has to do something about. Again, meeting with this liberal think tank could be part of an answer for that. But I don’t think he is as popular as he was before the deal. Maybe, as popular as he was on the republican side of the aisle. But among Democrats I suspect there has been erosion. I think there is polling that actually shows that as well.
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