Friday, May 20, 2011

'Netanyahu left meeting with Obama feeling encouraged'

(Ynetnews). A diplomatic source in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Washington delegation said Friday that Netanyahu had arrived at the meeting with US President Barack Obama troubled and pessimistic, but that he left the meeting feeling encouraged.

Following the 90-minute meeting, which ran over schedule, Obama walked Netanyahu to his car and the two continued to speak on the White House lawn for a few minutes.

Netanyahu was pleased with the outcome of the meeting, said one of his aides, adding the talk went better than he had anticipated.

The prime minister's aide said talks with Obama were open, honest and friendly. He clarified that the differences between Netanyahu and the U.S. president were a matter of policy, were not personal, saying Israel cannot absorb Palestinian refugees, and will not negotiate with Hamas.

"There are differences, but the relations are good," one official source said. The prime minister had made clear that Israel would not withdraw to the 1967 borders, he added, and "will not accept refugees or talk to Hamas. They can forget about it."

The source said a recent reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is "bad for peace and bad for Israel. Fatah is getting closer to Hamas, and not the opposite way around," he said.

"Obama's behavior was very clear and showed that they were trying to calm things down. A private lunch was another way of reducing tension. They understood that they went too far with Netanyahu," he added.