STATE DEPARTMENT - As President Donald Trump prepares for his first meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since entering the White House, analysts say the Israeli leader hopes to forge common ground on
Netanyahu will be the fourth foreign leader to meet with Trump face-to-face at the White House, after British Prime Minister Theresa May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Middle East analysts say Trump and Netanyahu want to set in motion a chain of events that could block
A senior Israeli Cabinet minister said Monday Netanyahu no longer supports a Palestinian state, but stopped short of confirming whether the prime minister will make his stance public during Wednesday's talks with Trump.
Netanyahu declined to elaborate on his position on the Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution as he departed for the
“Come with me, you will hear very clear answers, very clear answers,” said Netanyahu, when asked by a reporter if he still stands by the two-state solution.
WATCH: Would Trump-Netanyahu Meeting Move Forward an Israeli-Palestinian Two-State Solution?
“The Palestinians will be watching this very closely and will be looking for any hints that the
David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Project on the Middle East Peace Process, points to two big questions that will likely be the focal point of talks: “How to work with Arab states? How to constrain
Makovsky, who recently visited
In July of 2015,
Trump and Netanyahu are strong critics of this deal. They have also advocated for the termination of JCPOA, which was backed by the Obama administration.
But many see an evolving approach of the Trump administration, shifting from dismantling the deal to tightening its enforcement, while increasing pressure on
“I was reassured by what I heard in the meetings on the intention to stick to the full implementation of the agreement,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Friday, after talks at the White House and State Department.
“I think the debate about ripping up the agreement has essentially been settled and there are very few prominent voices [advocating that]," said Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “The debate is within the how do you enforce the hell out of it."
Career diplomat Lebaron told VOA he does not sense "an immediate need on either side to dismantle the agreement per se.”
Instead the former ambassador to
“Keeping in mind also that this agreement involves several other major powers,” Lebaron added.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said
President Trump has made promises that were viewed as veering sharply from longstanding
He has pledged to relocate the
Trump has also signaled that he would take a much softer approach to the settlements.
Last December, he criticized the Obama administration’s decision to abstain on a U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned
“I expect the president to find a way to implement and fulfill these promises," said Satloff.
He added those promises have a role to play in whether Netanyahu can return home with enough political gains “to enable him to withstand the pressure” from
But others said the meeting could be primarily symbolic.
“There is no doubt that in a certain way there’s a lower expectation because, indeed, President Trump doesn’t have a team in place,” said Washington Institute's Makovsky. “It’s easier for him to say, 'I’m in a listening mode”.
Though Trump has expressed an intention to facilitate peace between
The Palestinians are “already seeing that in the way the president refers to settlements and so there will be some apprehension about how this may unfold,” said Ambassador Lebaron.
Before flying home Thursday, Netanyahu plans to meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders. Secretary Tillerson will host a working dinner with Netanyahu Tuesday at the State Department.