The US president and the Israeli prime minister will meet at the White House this week amid growing tensions. Among the topics the two will discuss are Iran and the ongoing violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Obama and Netanyahu will meet in Washington on Monday for the first time in over a year.
The face-to-face talks come as the once rock-solid relations between the two countries have started to fracture, spurred in part by tensions over the controversial Iran nuclear deal and the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.
The meeting's main purpose is to reaffirm security ties between the US and Israel, though many observers see it as an effort by the two leaders - whose animosity toward each other has been an open secret for years - to patch things up.
Relations between the two countries worsened following the signing of the nuclear agreement with Iran, which Netanyahu sees as an existential threat to his country. The prime minister angered White House officials when he visited Congress to lobby lawmakers to ditch the agreement, a move that was seen by some as subversive and even insulting on the leader's part. Tellingly, Obama didn't meet with Netanyahu during that visit to Washington.
The Israeli leader has further alienated Obama byappointing a conservative commentator,
Ran Baratz, as his spokesman. Baratz has called Obama anti-Semitic and has also criticized US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process will also be a subject of discussion, as the wave of violence that has left at least 11 Israelis and more than 70 Palestinians dead continues unabated.
blc/jil (AP, AFP)