Sunday, March 22, 2015

Republican Leader John Boehner Soon to Visit Israel

WASHINGTON – The Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, will visit Israel during the next legislative recess beginning in late March, his spokesman said Friday.

The announcement is another turn of the screw in the tense relations between the governments of Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has just been reelected.

Boehner’s spokesman Kevin Smith said in a communique that the visit was scheduled before this week’s election from which Netanyahu came out the winner.

Boehner had defied the Obama administration by inviting Netanyahu to give a speech to Congress early this month, an opportunity for the prime minister to slam Washington’s negotiations with Iran to reach an accord on Tehran’s nuclear program.

According to several Israeli media citing officials of that country, Boehner plans to arrive on March 31 with several members of the U.S. Congress.

The purpose of the trip is to discuss “shared priorities for the peace and security of the region, and strengthen even more the ties between the United States and Israel,” Boehner’s spokesman said.

Among the points of conflict between the Obama government and Netanyahu are the comments he made before his electoral victory that he would never permit the creation of a Palestinian state.

However, in several interviews with U.S. television networks after the election, Netanyahu said he will continue working toward a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, as he had vowed to do years before.

The Obama administration expressed its skepticism about Netanyahu’s latest statements, and White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested the U.S. government could “reevaluate our approach” to bilateral relations.

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