Israel's Netanyahu to invite Trump to open Jerusalem embassy in May

Saul Bowman
March 6, 2018

Sources close to Nir Hefetz, a former top media adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, who on Monday became the latest ex-associate of the prime minister to agree to testify against him, said he had decided he "wouldn't take a bullet for Netanyahu" in the Bezeq corruption probe.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2018.

"I'm hoping that the Trump administration, who has been a great ally of Israel, has unleashed our military against ISIL, will look longer and harder in cooperation with the worldwide community to stop what I think is a unsafe advancement by Iran throughout the region", said Graham.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called on Iran to withdraw its military and militia from Syria.

Netanyahu was questioned "under caution" by police at his home on Friday, making him a suspect in three separate corruption investigations.

Trump and Netanyahu are expected to talk about President Barack Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran, something they and many lawmakers consider a bad deal. He has accused Iran of planning to build precision-guided missile factories in Lebanon, amid tensions along that border.

Referring to his friend "Donald", Netanyahu poured praise on the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, angered by Trump's Jerusalem move, has refused to engage with the United States on Middle East peace, prompting Trump to delay the rollout of peace proposals. Amid reports of deepening White House chaos, Trump is facing an intensifying investigation over his election campaign's alleged collusion with Russian Federation.

"This is a routine check-in meeting", one US official said of Netanyahu's second visit to the Trump White House.

Hefetz is alleged to have acted as a messenger between Netanyahu, Elovitch's telecoms group Bezeq and news website Walla!, media reports say.

"We're looking at coming", Trump said. The Haaretz newspaper said he will deliver recordings of the prime minister and his wife as part of the agreement. We're as close now as maybe ever before.

Trump has said previously that Israel would need to make its own concessions in talks with Palestinians if any peace agreement can be reached but did not raise that issue during his public remarks on Monday.

Some analysts believe Kushner's ability to run the Middle East initiative has been further handicapped by his loss of access to certain valued U.S. intelligence because of a recent White House clampdown on access to such secrets for those without full security clearance. But in at least one big way, the uncertainty and strife at the White House intersected with Netanyahu's visit: a central U.S. interlocutor on Middle East peace, senior adviser Jared Kushner, has had his access to top-secret information yanked amid a crackdown on interim security clearances.

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