Six Reasons for Netanyahu and Obama to Clash

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2009 7:00 AM CDT
Then-candidate Barack Obama, right, stands with then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, during their meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, July 23, 2008.   (AP Photo/Olivier Fitoussi, Pool)
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(Newser) – Publicly there will be few fireworks when Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu meet today. But here are the issues the vastly different leaders will wrestle with behind closed doors:

  • The Two-State Solution: It’s the overwhelming international consensus, but Netanyahu insists it would compromise Israel’s security.
  • Iran’s Clock: Obama wants a longer timetable for diplomacy with Iran; Israel wants quick action.
  • Gaza: Obama wants the blockade lifted so aid can get in; Netanyahu wants to choke Hamas.

  • Iran First: Netanyahu believes the US must confront Iran’s nuclear program before tackling the Palestinian issue.
  • Why Now?: Netanyahu argues it’s not time for peace negotiations with a fractured Palestine. Obama argues that unless progress is made, Fatah will collapse.
  • The Settlements: Obama believes Israel’s constantly expanding West Bank settlements are crippling the peace process. But Netanyahu draws a lot of political support from settlers, and isn’t eager to confront them.