Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu will work with advisors to align thinking on the Middle East
Staff have cleared most of today for discussions with Israel's ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, and other senior advisers ahead of tomorrow’s Oval Office meeting.
The only event of the day is an evening meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“There isn't going to be any daylight, no gaps,” one adviser said as the prime minister left for Washington, the first time Mr Netanyahu, the head of a right-wing coalition, has overlapped with a Republican in the White House in four terms in office.
Those reassurances came as Premier Netanyahu took a cautious line on whether he would support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the bedrock of US diplomacy for twenty years, when he sits down with President Trump.
The Oval office meeting will take place tomorrow
During the presidential campaign, President Trump was often unabashedly pro-Israel, promising to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, backing David Friedman, a supporter of settlements, as his envoy to Israel, and saying that he wouldn't apply pressure for talks with the Palestinians.
There isn't going to be any daylight, no gaps
But in the three-and-a-half weeks since taking office, positions have shifted.
This is the first time Mr Netanyahu has overlapped with a Republican in the White House History of a special relationship: Presidents and Prime Ministers together Wed, January 25, 2017
Ahead of the meeting between Theresa May and Donald Trump, a look back at the close ties between the U.S. and Britain.
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Margaret Thatcher shares a joke with Ronald Reagan, at No. 10 Downing Street
The embassy transfer has been put on hold as the fallout from such a move, not least the potential for unrest across the Middle East, has been explained, including by Jordan's King Abdullah during an impromptu visit.
When it comes to settlements, President Trump has laid out a more nuanced position, saying that while he does not see them as an obstacle to peace, building new ones or expanding existing ones beyond their current boundaries is “not good”.
He will meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this evening
And rather than no pressure for peace talks, President Trump has said he wants to have a go at the “ultimate deal”. In an interview with newspaper Israel Hayom last week, he urged Israel to act “reasonably” in the Middle East peace process.
Aside from Trump and Tillerson, Netanyahu will meet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence during the Feb. 13-16 visit.
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