US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have held their first meeting since the Iran nuclear accord strained relations.
Speaking following the Washington talks, Obama suggested a new US military aid agreement could be on the cards to bolster Israel’s security.
“The military assistance that we provide, we consider it not only an important part of our obligation to the security of the State of Israel, but also an important part of US security infrastructure in the region as we make sure that one of our closest allies can not only protect itself but can also work with us in deterring terrorism and other security threats,” he said.
He condemned Palestinian violence in the region and said he was interested in hearing Netanyahu’s thoughts on lowering Israeli-Palestinian tensions.
The Israeli PM reaffirmed his government’s commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict, which has seen at least 73 Palestinians and 12 Israelis killed since October 1, 2015.
Netanyahu told the press US-Israeli relations were strong and thanked Obama for his commitment to Israel’s security.
However, he didn’t let slip a chance to blame Iran for the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
“I think everybody can see it: with the savagery of ISIS; with the aggression and terror by Iran’s proxies and by Iran itself; and the combination of turbulence has now displaced millions of people, has butchered hundreds of thousands and we don’t know what will transpire,” he said.
Outside the White House, demonstrators gathered to rally against the aid the US sends to Israel. Annually, the Middle Eastern government received 3.1 billion dollars.
Some of the protesters carried signs saying “Stop all US aid to Israel,” while others labelled Netanyahu a “war criminal.”