The American and Israeli leaders have met for the first time to trade their visions of a peaceful Middle East.
Before Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the White House, his policy differences with Barack Obama were already well documented. The Israeli Prime Minister has been reluctant to endorse a separate Palestinian state, has promoted the expansion of West Bank settlements and has urged a tough line on Iran. The US president though has encouraged a two-state solution with Palestinians, an end to Israeli settlements and a diplomatic relationship with Iran. Whether these differences are overcome or not, the White House will receive Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in ten days time. Both meetings may determine Obama’s credibility in the Middle East and his reputation as a leader able to make the peace.