POLITICS: PennAve

Obama to host Palestinian leader at White House

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Politics,Israel,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Benjamin Netanyahu,Palestinians

President Obama will host Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House in mid-March.

The two plan to discuss the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and their continuing effort to “work cooperatively to strengthen the institutions that can support the establishment of a Palestinian state,” the White House said in a brief statement.

The meeting, which will take place March 17, will come more than two weeks after Obama's much anticipated meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday. Obama and Netanyahu have had a rocky relationship over the last few years as the Israeli leader has threatened to strike against Iran if it continues to pursue its nuclear development and Obama has tried to tamp down talk of military action.

Netanyahu has been harshly critical of the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran on a six-month interim deal to try to rollback parts of Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. He has been far more charitable in his reaction to secretary of state's efforts on the peaces talks even though the efforts have yielded few tangible results and both sides remain entrenched.

Obama is expected to try to persuade Netanyahu to agree to a framework for a transition to peace between Israelis and Palestinians when he visits the White House Monday, according to a report in The New York Times, which said he will make a similar push when Abbas visits later in March.

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