Obama touts $38 billion military aid package in meeting with Netanyahu

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23 September, 2016

"And I believe that as soon as we have a new president, we should rescind that agreement and give one that is better for Israel and better for the United States".

"Prime Minister Netanyahu and I are confident that the new MOU will make a significant contribution to Israel's security in what remains a unsafe neighbourhood", Obama said in a written statement last week.

But the White House remains opposed to Israel's expanded settlement activity in the West Bank, and has expressed disappointment at Netanyahu's occasional skepticism about the viability of a two-state solution in the region.

The CIA Factbook online says about 371,000 Israelis live in settlements scattered among an estimated 2.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. "This speech is not enough, during his years of power, we haven't seen any practical and specific steps taken by the United States that reflect this position", Amin Maqboul, the secretary general of the Revolutionary Council of Fatah, said.

The two men even tried to inject some warmth into their often chilly discussions.

"By the way. right next to my home in Caesarea, in Israel, is a terrific golf course". U.S. President Barack Obama greets Chilean president Michelle Bachelet as he arrives for a luncheon during the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. -Israeli cooperation: A 10-year, non-binding "memorandum of understanding" that includes support for missile defense, more F-35 joint strike fighters and other military equipment.

But both sides still recognise the other as a close ally, and Obama's offer of $38bn over ten years is the biggest military assistance pact in USA history.

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Obama's meeting Wednesday with Netanyahu will likely be his last before leaving office, the White House said.

Cruz in a statement said he rejected the language in the letter's opening that "the only way to resolve the conflicts between the two is through direct negotiations that lead to a sustainable two-state solution with a future state of Palestine living in peace and security with Israel".

Obama himself seemed to acknowledge that their closed-door meetings have been contentious. That could come in the form of a major speech or a U.S. -backed U.N. Security Council resolution - both moves that would increase pressure on Israel and that Netanyahu would be expected to oppose.

While the two leaders have had a famously tumultuous relationship, they appeared to have put past disputes, such as the one over the Iran nuclear deal, behind them for their final meeting. "We do have concerns about settlement activity as well".

Israel has long relied on U.S. vetoes to avoid criticism at the Security Council for its many misdeeds in the occupied territories, and despite the suggestion that Obama is uncooperative, he's vetoed everything, just like other presidents have.

President Barack Obama calls the US Men's National Team captain Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Tim Howard, on Wednesday, July 02, 2014 to commend them on their leadership and the team's performance during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


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