Trump to host Israel's Netanyahu ahead of AIPAC summit

Trump to host Israeli PM Netanyahu ahead of AIPAC summit
2 min read
20 March, 2019
Netanyahu, whose close alliance with Trump has been a key feature of his election campaign, will be hosted by POTUS later this month.
An election poster featuring Netanyahu and Trump in Tel Aviv [Getty]
US President Donald Trump will host his close ally Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House next week, Trump's spokeswoman said Wednesday.

A working meeting will be held on Monday, with a dinner for the two leaders on Tuesday, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

"The president and the prime minister will discuss their countries' shared interests and actions in the Middle East," a White House statement read.

Netanyahu will be in the US to attend the annual conference of AIPAC, the influential pro-Israel lobby in the US.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Israel's leader on Wednesday as part of his tour of the Middle East.

America's chief diplomat is seeking to bolster a united front against Iran, in which Netanyahu's right-wing government form a central part.

Speaking after his meeting with Netanyahu, Pompeo said: "We maintain our unparalleled commitment to Israel's security and firmly defend your right to defend yourself," addressing the press conference in Israel.

"We provide $3.8bn annually for security assistance to Israel," Pompeo said, adding that with Israel "threatened by rockets and missiles from Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere", he was "proud" to deploy THAAD anti-missile batteries.

Pompeo's visit is also seen as a show of US support for Netanyahu, who is campaigning for re-election ahead of Israelis going to the polls on 9 April.

This comes despite the right-wing leader being marred by allegations of bribery and corruption, as well as criticism for seeking an alliance with a virulently anti-Arab far-right party.

The Trump administration has provided unwavering support to the Netanyahu government since it took power, yielding to its long-standing demands including moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

In doing so, Trump has pushed away the Palestinian side, who now refuse to engage in diplomacy after a string of hostile moves from the US, including cutting back huge amounts of aid.

Agencies contributed to this report.