Expectations are low for the Monday talk between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, as the two plan to discuss regional security, military aid and the two-state solution.
Netanyahu unveiled a plan to help stabilize the West Bank and Gaza, which some observers say are preparing for a third Intifada, or uprising, in exchange for an estimated US$50 million aid package for protection against Iran.
But many analysts and commentators doubt that the meeting will lead to significant inroads, as each has been unimpressed with the other.
The agenda will include discussing the Syrian conflict, Iran’s nuclear program and the Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, but the catchall is the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding, a ten-year security deal that expires in 2017.
Obama has already conceded military funding to Israel in exchange for the Iran nuclear deal, and with an escalating strategy against the Islamic State group, an agreement—possibly with a lower price tag—is likely.
To help make the package easier to swallow, Netanyahu will propose “confidence-building measures,” reported Haaretz, to ease tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories. Last week, his national security adviser revealed a plan including opening up mobility for Palestinians and funding Israeli-controlled construction projects in the West Bank.
With Obama increasingly doubtful about a two-state solution, Netanyahu will be pressured to present meaningful steps in that direction, despite his rejection of any Palestinian state after his party’s re-election in March.
Netanyahu has already failed White House hopes for a settlement freeze and peace talks. His relationship with Jordanian King Abdullah is also soured over a row about security at the Temple Mount, which may prompt him to seek U.S. help to mend the ties.
RELATED: Silent Compromises
Disputes over the Temple Mount and Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian territories have sparked a series of attacks that caused the death of 72 Palestinians and 10 Israelis in October, according to official reports from both sides.
In response, Israel imposed severe security measures and, a few hours before Netanyahu boarded his plane for the U.S., Israel’s Air Force struck a Hamas site after a rocket attack in an open field, with no reported casualties.
PM Netanyahu boarding his plane. Will be wheels up En Route Washington DC in a few minutes pic.twitter.com/E3lH1Q0xiG— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) November 8, 2015
Obama has confronted Netanyahu for his increasingly hard-line stance and made Israel his first trip after winning his second term, but his position has not altered significantly from past U.S. presidents.
A resolution to stop building settlements in the occupied territories currently sits in the United Nations Security Council, but the United States is likely to veto it. Still, the Israeli leader's dislike of Obama is well known.
Netanyahu bashed the U.S. president in front of Congress during the Iran talks and on Wednesday and picked a media and communications director that has accused Obama of being “anti-Semitic.”
RELATED: Key Aspects of Iran's Nuclear Deal
Besides addressing the rising attacks in the occupied territories, Netanyahu will aim to secure the “competitive advantage” of his country in the Middle East and strengthen his relationship with the “American Jewish community,” stopping by for an appearance at the Center for American Progress. Dozens of faith-based and social justice organization are planning rallies and pickets at the various sites he will visit in protesting what they say are harmful policies to Palestinians.